During our recent break from school, I took the time to do a fairly quick re-reading of Charlotte Mason's first volume, Home Education. I am really glad that I took the time to do this as I have most definitely gained some fresh inspiration for the coming year! I made some notes of things that stood out to me to apply this coming year and thought that I would share them here both for my benefit (organized and in one place!) and perhaps for yours too. I shared my nature study/outdoor time notes here and my lesson planning notes here.
Today I want to share some of my gleanings on habit training and parenting in general. I struggle at times with motivation and consistency in this regard and need all the help I can get!
Training in the habit of obedience (or any habit) and the training of the conscience are GRADUAL processes. It's okay if I don't see results overnight. The goal is to help the child gradually enlist their will to choose what is right. My part is to continue on guiding and training with Tact, Watchfulness, and Persistance.
"I am, I can, I ought, I will." This was Charlotte Mason's motto for students. I love what Jack Beckman has to say about this motto in Chapter 2 of When Children Love to Learn:
"I am a child of God
I ought to do His will
I can do what He tells me,
And by His grace, I will.
'I am a child of God.' How freeing to realize the wonder of the relationship of a child with her heavenly Father – the flow of love and grace in the child's life as she learns to live under His care and authority.
'I ought to do His will.' The child has a standard to live by found in the very Word of God. She has a place to go to find out about all the 'oughts' in life, but a place of forgiveness and acceptance as well.
'I can do what He tells me.' The very real presence of the Holy Spirit in the child's life makes obedience to His precepts possible.
'And by His grace, I will.' It is by grace the child has been saved, and it is by grace that the child is preserved and sustained as she walks the walk of faith, life, and learning."
Important truths to remember (and share with my children) as I handle situations of training and discipline this coming year.
There is more to habit training than external training in morality. True morality is the product of a heart that has been changed by God. Therefore, our first goal in training our children in morality and good habits is to point them to the wonder and greatness of our Saviour, to pray for the Spirit to work in their lives, and implant in them (model!!) a deep love for His Word.
"Accept the parable: the parent is little better in this matter than the witless bee; it is his part to deposit, so to speak, within reach of the soul of the child some fruitful idea of God; the immature soul makes no effort towards that idea, but the living Word reaches down, touches the soul,––and there is life; growth and beauty, flower and fruit." (Vol 1, p.344)
"…he will have infinite need of faith and prayer, tact and discretion, humility, gentleness, love, and sound judgement, if he would present his child to God, and the thought of God to the soul of his child." (Vol. 1, p.345)
"Again, the knowledge of God is distinct from morality, or what the children call 'being good', though 'being good' follows from that knowledge. But let these come in their right order. Do not bepreach the child to weariness about 'being good' as what he owes to God, without letting in upon him first a little of that knowledge which shall make him good." (Vol. 1, p. 347)
"It is as the mother gets wisdom liberally from above, that she will be enabled for this divine task." (p. 348)
"A word about the reading of the Bible. I think we make a mistake in burying the text under our endless comments and applications. Also, I doubt if the picking out of individual verses, and grinding these into the child until they cease to have any meaning for him, is anything but a hindrance to the spiritual life. The Word is full of vital force, capable of applying itself. A seed, light as thistledown, wafted into the child's soul will take root downwards and bear fruit upwards. What is required of us is, that we should implant a love of the Word…" (Vol. 1, p. 349)