Somehow my goal has changed; it is funny, isn’t it? One day we wake up and realize things are different. It didn’t happen overnight — it was gradual — and I believe it will be permanent.
My goal for the last six years has been to follow Charlotte Mason’s (CM) philosophy not “more or less” but as best as I can, in order to provide a CM education for my three children. Somewhere along the way, my very soul, the essence of who I am, has been touched by this philosophy. It used to be all about the children, providing a good education, and being a good mother. Now it has changed – to include me.
I have discovered I am important. I, too, am a person. I, too, want to embrace the fullness of life that comes hand in hand with partaking of a wide and varied feast. This learning to live with CM is not just for my children. It is for me. It is not just for the children.
The motto, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life,” is coming to mean more to me than it did at first glance. As I learn and grow with CM, I’m certain my understanding of this philosophy will continue to deepen as I attempt to apply it to my life.
“Education is an atmosphere.” Atmosphere, I have discovered, is more than my surroundings. A beautiful environment is lovely but will carry us only so far. Atmosphere is something we breathe, a part of who we are. CM says, “[T]he child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives.” (Parents and Children, p. 247) So I have asked myself, “What emanates from me; what ideas rule my life that are evident without even a spoken word to my children?” And in turn, “Do I breathe in the atmosphere of my Heavenly Father, allowing Him to emanate from me?”
“Education is a discipline.” As we learn about habits and discipline, I am keenly aware of my own habits that need work – it’s not just for the children. As I learn about the importance of thoughts, the fallibility of reason, and the significance of being governed by will, I realize it all applies to me too. CM says the goal of education is character – and my character matters too.
“But the one achievement possible and necessary for every man is character; and character is as finely wrought metal beaten into shape and beauty by the repeated and accustomed action of will. We who teach should make it clear to ourselves that our aim in education is less conduct than character; conduct may be arrived at, as we have seen, by indirect routes, but it is of value to the world only as it has its source in character.” (A Philosophy of Education, p. 129)
“Education is a life.” As mom and teacher it is vital that I, too, am being fed with living food. I need to take time to get mind to mind, to breathe the life that only comes from living ideas, to set a broad and varied feast before myself, and to partake regularly, not just once in awhile or from the leftovers on my children’s plates. This means I must have margin in my life – time to think and ponder – time for relationship – time to care – time to be.
Through CM I am learning to embrace the fullness of life. I am learning how to really live. It’s not just for the children.
Will you join me?
© 2015 Joy Shannon