Sunday, September 14, 2008

Narration of Charlotte Mason's original works: Volume 5, Section 5

5. Consequences

I'm about to give you my summary of this section. Some important quotes follow. And if you want to read the whole article, you can click on the heading, because it will take you right to it.

The arbitrary exercise of parental authority can be a stumbling block for a child. The word arbitrary indicates unreasonable or inconsistent authority. We know from countless modern parenting books that children respond best to consistency, and that a hint of reason is nice, too. Children find arbitrary parenting to be exasperating. They need a loving consistent parent who considers carefully her responses to any and all behavior, be it good or undesirable. Parents must be constantly seeking divine wisdom and grace to continue to be able to respond to their children in an appropriate manner, exercising the God-given authority they operate in without overstepping the bounds and becoming tyrannical. Charlotte reminds us that any one of us is capable of reacting to a child in a way that can harm him in body or spirit. It would be much, much easier to just let the child go his own way. Yet it is the parent's job to teach and train him with prayer and great diligence and wise choices on the parents' side if he is to grow into a man of great character. A parent must keep his own natural desire for power in check and instead exercise godly authority over his child, responding to the child with gentle speech, consideration, and fairness.

How I'm to do that, I don't know exactly. I do my best in this area, and I'm sure there is much room for improvement.

"The arbitrary exercise of authority on the part of parent, nurse, governess, whoever is set in authority over him, is the real stone of stumbling and rock of offence in the way of many a child" (pg. 70).

"But let us look ourselves in the face; let us recognise that the principle which has betrayed others into the madness of crime is inherent in us also, and that whether it shall lead us to heights of noble living or to criminal cruelty is not a matter to be left to the chapter of accidents. We have need of the divine grace to prevent and follow us, and we have need to seek consciously, and diligently use this grace to keep us who are in authority in the spirit of meekness, remembering always that the One who is entrusted with the rod of iron is meek and lowly of heart" (pg. 72-73).

"It is no doubt much easier to lay down our authority and let the children follow their own lead, or be kept in order by another, than to exercise constant watchfulness in the exercise of our calling. But this is not in our option; we must rule with diligence. It is necessary for the children that we should; but we must keep ourselves continually in check, and see that our innate love of power finds lawful outlet in the building up of a child's character, and not in the rude rebuff, the jibe and sneer, the short answer and hasty slap which none of us older people could conceivably endure ourselves, and yet practise freely on the children 'for their good'" (pg. 73-74).

"We are, in truth, between Scylla and Charybdis: on this side, the six-headed, many-toothed monster of our own unbridled love of power; on that, the whirlpool which would engulf the manly virtues of our poor little Ulysses. If we must choose, let it be Scylla rather than Charybdis; better lose something through the monster with the teeth, than lose ourselves in the whirlpool. But is there not a better way?" (pg. 76).

"Refrain thee; see thy speech be sweet and rare:
Thy ways, considered; and thine aspect, fair" (pg. 76).

1 comment:

Diane Davies said...

HUH?? Sounds a little deep for me but you know how us Princess' are. hehe At least I found your blog and I'm going to link it to mine. : )