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 do our best today."

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.

one step at a time...