Saturday, March 22, 2014

    We've started another wonderful George MacDonald book and the children beg for "just one more chapter".  We're reading an edition edited by Michael Phillips, titled, The Baronet's Song, produced by Bethany House Publishers. This book was originally published as Sir Gibbie.  It's a beautiful story and as usual MacDonald's words are often worth recording and find their way into my commonplace book.  Here is a memorable quote:  "So, teaching him only that which she loved, not that which she had been taught, Janet read to Gibbie of Jesus, and talked to him of Jesus, until at length his whole soul was full of the Man, of His doings, of His words, of His thoughts, of His life.  Almost before he knew, he was trying to fashion his life after that of the Master.  
     "Janet had no inclination to trouble her own head, or Gibbie's heart, with what men call the plan of salvation.  It was enough to her to find that he followed her Master."
      This reminded me of a quote by Charlotte Mason from Home Education,  "The Essence of Christianity is Loyalty to a Person--Christ, our King.  Here is a thought to unseal the fountains of love and loyalty, the treasures of faith and imagination, bound up in the child.  The very essence of Christianity is personal loyalty, passionate loyalty to our adorable Chief.  We have laid other foundations--regeneration, sacraments, justification, works, faith, te Bible--any of which, however necessary to salvation in its due place and proportion, may become a religion about Christ and without Christ.  And now a time of sifting has come upon us, and thoughtful people decline to know anything about our religious systems, they write down all our orthodox beliefs as things not knowable.  Perhaps this may be because, in thinking much of our salvation, we have put out of sight our King... Let us save Christianity for our children by bringing them into allegiance to Christ the King.  How?  How did the old Cavaliers bring up sons and daughters, in passionate loyalty and reverence for not too worthy princes?  Their own hearts were full of it; their lips spake it; their acts proclaimed it; their style of clothes, all was one proclamation of the boundless devotion to their king and his cause.  That civil war, whatever else it did, or missed doing, left a parable for Christian people.  If a Stuart prince could command such measure of loyalty, what shall we say of the Chief amongst ten thousand, the altogether lovely?'" 


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Morals Do Not Come By Nature

This article is written as part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carival.  You can see the schedule and subscribe to it here.
Reading School Education ch. 12 this week, several thoughts stood out to me.  

One, She asserts that it's not about rules, but rather about principles, that God's law surrounds us and influences us like gravity. It's not an arbitrary,  man-made set of rules, but truths and principles based on true reality given by the designer of us and our world Himself for our benefit.

She mentions that we as parents should "discern the signs of the times too; the tendency is to think that a man can only act according to his 'lights,' and, therefore , that it is right for him to do that which is right in his own eyes; in other words, that every man is his own final authority in questions of right and wrong.  It is extremely important that parents should keep in view, and counteract if need be, this tendency of the day."  It is interesting to me that the moral climate in England in Charlotte Mason's day was so similar to our present one.  Our present culture clearly teaches the same idea - that each must decide what is right for himself and not judge another. In our times it is acceptable to think of ourselves, as individuals, as the central focus of life rather than beginning with God as the measure of all things and thinking of ourselves accordingly.  Our culture looks through the wrong end of the telescope. She suggests that we as parents must be aware of this kind of teaching and counteract it.

She says here that, "Morals do not come by nature." and "A certain rough-and-ready kind of morality, varying with our conditions, does come by heredity and environment; but that most delicate and beautiful human possessions, an educated conscience, comes only by teaching with authority and adorning by example."

She goes on to explain how beautiful poetry and art, biography and especially Biblical biography and even the memorization of credes all promote morality and help a child form true ideas about what is right and what God expects of us.  This is where a Charlotte Mason education shines!  These are the exact means this kind of education utilizes and why I love it so much!

I liked her idea about having children collect mottoes daily.  It made me think of Laurie Bestvater's wonderful book The Living Page which lists so many of Charlotte Mason's wonderful ideas for commonplace books of various types. 

This chapter concludes with the idea that parents need to be clear in their own minds about the "manner of virtues they want their children to develop" and a caution, that children need to know that "being good is not their whole duty to God, although it is much of it; that the relationship of love and personal service, which he owes as a child to his Father, as a subject to his King, is even more than the 'being good' which gives our Almighty Father such pleasure in His children."