Week 3 of the Charlotte Mason Home Education Read-Along Series finds us in sobering section: Offending the Children. For those who don’t know, I am reading through the Charlotte Mason Home Education volume as part of my personal Mother Culture project this year and sharing my thoughts on these posts. I’m also sharing the printables I create for anyone who wants to join in. Let’s dive in!
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Charlotte Mason Home Education, pages 13-17: Offenses
Charlotte begins by defining two ways we sin against children:
1) By Offence- we offend them when we do something we should not do.
2) By Despising: we despise them when we don’t do something that we should do.
An offense is a stumbling block, something which trips up the walker and causes them to fall. As mothers, we should make every effort to not cause an offense in their lives.
If you need to purchase the Charlotte Mason Home Education volume, it is available in a newer version HERE. (Affiliate link)
I am using the Original Homeschooling Series, volume One, Home Education- the pink books. 🙂
Children are born law-abiding
Mothers are cautioned that every response to ‘naughtiness’ matters and will send a message to the child on whether or not ‘the law’ should be obeyed. She gives a couple of examples on page 14. She says on page 15 “Everyone knows the steps by which a mother’s “no” becomes disregarded, her refusal is teased into consent.” The child learns that if he/she can change the mother’s mind to do what is forbidden on one thing, then he/she can surely challenge all the rules laid before them! This leads to the endless struggle for the child to get his own way instead of submitting to the rule of his/her parents.
They must perceive that their Governors are law-compelled
Children must see that we are law-compelled ourselves just as we expect them to be. If we do as we please in our eyes, then they will follow suit. But if we live according to a set of morals, laws, way of thinking (aka the Bible and good citizens) then they will also follow suit. How we treat them at the beginning of their life will show whether or not we have a law-compelled motive.
Children read us with stunning accuracy and it is important to consider what our own personal lives are teaching them. we must first hold ourselves to the standards of right before attempting to hold them to it.
Parents may offend their children by disregarding the laws of health
Charlotte continues to call mothers out on more ways that we can offend our children- in the disregarding of the laws of health. Not making sure children get the proper nutrients, sleep and fresh air- basic necessities of health- is one way we can cause a stumbling block to their physical well-being. She boldly says that there is no excuse for neglecting children in this way due to scientific men who have brought this knowledge within reach of everyone.
And of the Intellectual Life
I must admit that I found this section a bit comical, but of course, Ms. Mason is correct in much of what she says. A child that grows up hating school lesson often becomes an adult who is of a lazy mind and seeks only ‘entertainment’. We have a nation full of such adults. Charlotte is always pushing for education ‘in a true sense’. She knows and is passionately trying to communicate to educators, that “dreary, dawdling lessons” are not the method by which we can make any real progress in educating a whole, living being.
And of the moral life
“Nobody knows the real anguish which many a child in the nursery suffers from this cause, nor how many lives are embittered and spoiled through the suppression of these childish affections.” When I think of “moral” life, this section isn’t exactly what I pictured. This quote resonates with me on many levels, personally, and as a mother. Charlotte understands and beautifully conveys that children must be loved and be free to love with each member of the family. It is NECESSARY for their proper development.
To hinder affection within a child and to hinder it from coming TO the child is to inflict great harm upon them. We must be careful that we are loving each child as they are and not put this unnecessary offense upon them. And I will add (from the intimate knowledge of this subject in particular) that it is indeed an offense that will never leave them, it shapes their moral values in more ways than you can possibly imagine.
My Takeaways from week 3 of the Charlotte Mason Home Education Read-Along Series
Offending children is serious business in the eyes of Ms. Mason. More importantly, it is serious business to the Lord and as mothers to profess to love our children, we would be wise to take stock of how we are treating these beings entrusted into our care.
I’ve been a mother for over 25 years and I can feel myself wrestling with the challenges Ms. Mason presents in her writings. You must be a truly dedicated individual to obtain the ideal that Charlotte is casting before all mothers. And, perhaps, this is the problem with the generations that we are releasing into the world nowadays- maybe, just maybe, we lack true dedication in our task? If I were to fully commit to this mindset and way of raising children, I doubt I will have much time for any other pursuits.
I will be thinking about this and praying on this. We live in a culture that discourages such a sacrifice of self. And I suppose we must ask ourselves, often, are we willing to work on ourselves so that we will not hinder, offend or despise one of His little ones? I pray that I am.
What struck you most about this week’s reading???