Monday, November 05, 2007

Challenge Your Child With Greatness

"A habit becomes morally binding in proportion
to the inspiring power of the idea which underlies it."
Charlotte Mason vol 3

The single, most important reason why I like Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education is because it is based upon the the belief that all men, women and children, bond or free, rich or poor, smart or simple, are created in the image of the Maker and bear his stamp of greatness. (Genesis 1:26) It is true, we rejected him, lost our position and fell headlong into darkness. This realization prompted Isaac Watts to pen the words, "Alas! and did my Savior bleed for such a worm as I." However, Winston Churchill said something really profound, "We are all worms, but I prefer to be a glow worm." CS. Lewis referred to humans as having "honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.” We have lost our former glory.

In Miss Mason's day, people were too occupied with 'saving yer dirty sowl' as she put it, instead of loving the the little children into the kingdom of God. Charlotte knew that children had tendencies towards evil as well as good and she proposed that the evil within a child should be starved while feeding the mind with spiritual and wholesome knowledge so that the image of the Creator would once again be evident. She was not referring to salvation here (she speaks of Christ's sacrifice for our sins in other writings.) She was merely laying a foundation to work with, a foundation of good character. ( vol 6)

As soon as my children are old enough to understand whose bosom they came from and that he is calling them back to him, I begin to reason with their soul, reminding them of this great beautiful thought. "You were meant to be a prince/princess of God, He is beautiful and holy and wants you to reign with him one day. But earth is our training ground. He loves you dearly, let us not disappoint him. Let us make him proud of us."

If your children get a hold of this, they get a vision of greatness. You will find that they become self-motivated to do their best whether it be lessons, chores, or in their relationships with others. Of course, my children have often forgotten and I have often reminded them and I've learned that a gentle reminder of such an awesome truth does far more than my looks of disgust and harsh reprimands.

We do our children a disservice by expecting them to do their duty day in and day out without a worthy reason. On the other hand, saying, "I'll take you to Six Flags if you do all your schoolwork and don't complain for a whole week," is a demeaning motivator. For, essentially, in extending such a carrot, we are assuming the child can only care for the temporal and fleeting pleasures of life. But children are capable of thinking great thoughts and accomplishing great deeds just as adults may do. Let us not underestimate the souls in our care. It is an awesome responsibility to help a stone look to the rock from whence it was cut and return to its niche as a diamond.

one step at a time...


  1. Anonymous5.11.07

    Martin Luther said "it is better to remind than to teach."

    Great post and good words of encourgement.

    Beth Johnson

  2. Great post. Thanks for helping me focus.
    FYI-- I will be posting soon on Nature Study and a new book on it. Also hope to post photos [FINALLY] of our neighbors--2 young racoons and a possum who hang out in our dumpster. We are also surrounded by the most Amazing fall colors I've ever seen! We hope to draw them. I'll try to post.

  3. Awesome reminder! That was one of the first things I liked about CM ... the motivation versus manipulation.

    Neat quote, Beth!

  4. Wonderful post Linda and very encouraging, thanks so much!

  5. Amber(Homeschool Diva)5.11.07

    Thank you!
    That was lovely.

  6. Simply beautiful. Thank you.

  7. Once again, an excellent and really inspiring post, Lindafay! I needed to hear those words tonight. My dear, sweet 5 yo is so in need of some "high thought" to motivate her right now. Thanks for the blessing!!

  8. A wonderful post.
    It does seem as though the trend is always to bribe, reward and manipulate.We must go against the flow, and as you say...challenge our child with greatness.Thank you for a wonderful reminder.

  9. Anonymous6.11.07

    I'm hoping you'll include this post in the upcoming CM Blog Carnival? Pretty please. :)


  10. Beautiful words!
    Yes, are kids are definately able to think great thoughts, and accomplish many things. We have to believe in them first, before they are able to believe in themselves!
    Love Fee

  11. renee7.11.07

    Thanks LindaFay! My son (Yr2) and I were reading Pilgrims Progress today and were at the point of Passion and Patience. Had a huge discussion of this world and the next. This post was such an awesome extention of that, and helped me to process how to discuss it with him. Thanks so much! Blessings to you!
    (who hasn't posted in ages because we have Grandma living with us now;)

  12. Anonymous8.11.07

    Thanks for agreeing to the CM Carnival! I've taken care of it. :)


  13. beautiful reminder. great post.

  14. Anonymous12.11.07

    Well said! Inspiring and encouraging! Thank you for sharing your heart and touching mine. ~Jennie

  15. I agree completely! I am bad to catch myself bribing my children. But they really ought to learn to do things, not for what they can get, but how they can be a blessing to others. Household chores should be done to bless momma and please the Lord Jesus. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. I really, really needed to read this this week! God has been reminding me of the letter my dad wrote to me when I was a very young girl encouraging me to always strive for do my best as unto the Lord. I have been very lax about that recently, and needed to be reminded of this not only for my children, but for myself! We spent some time talking about this today. Thank you for sharing this!

  17. What a great reminder that habit training is so much easier when we sow a worthwhile idea first! If we address thinking first, behaviors will fall into place much more easily.

    I will have to share Churchill's glow worm comment with my kids! :-)