{Their Words, My Rambled Thoughts}

 


My mom always took note of how heavy my bag was. I would stuff things that I *think* I might need if ever I got stranded somewhere. For me, the  thought of not doing anything but sit and wait is torture. And so, that leaves me with a bag FULL of books, notebooks, pens, yarn, lipstick, cologne, journal etc. etc.

It’s my security blanket.

Hard habit to break.

Most of you reading my blog would understand, yes? :)

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Right now, I am reading three books in rotation. All three books need brain work. I think I need to throw in a short light read to keep things balanced. Maybe a free read from an AO Year 2 booklist?

I am currently reading Knowing God by J.I. PackerConsider This by Karen Glass, and Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason

Most of my attention goes to CM’s Volume 5, Formation of Character. There is a weekly discussion going on over at the AO Forum (led by Karen Glass herself!). But as usual, I can’t keep up with those ladies. 

Instead of reading straight through the book, it was suggested that we read with this schedule to guide us: 

1. March 1-- Preface (no page numbers), and Part I, ch. 1 (ch. 2 optional), p. 1-32
2. March 8 -- Part IV, ch. 1, p. 273-298
3. March 15 -- Part I, ch. 3 (ch. 4 optional), p. 33-67
4. March 22 -- Part IV, ch. 3, p. 364-387
5. March 29 -- Part II, ch. 1-3, p. 121-143
Easter/Spring Break
6. April 12 -- Part II, ch. 4-5 (4 could be optional), p. 144-173
7. April 19 -- Part I, ch. 6 (ch. 5 optional), p. 68-88
8. April 26 -- Part III, ch. 1a, p. 177-196
9. May 3 -- Part III, ch. 1b, p. 196-217
10. May 10 --  Part III, ch. 1c, p. 217-235
11. May 17 -- Part IV, ch. 4, p. 388-400
12. May 24 -- Part III, ch. 2a, p. 236-253
13. May 31 -- Part III, ch. 2b, p. 253-269
14. June 7 -- Part I, ch. 9, p. 109-117
CMI Conference Break
15. June 21 -- Part IV, ch. 2a, p. 299-318
16. June 28 -- Part IV, ch. 2b, p. 318-340
17. July 5 -- Part IV, ch. 2c, p. 340-363
18. July 12 -- Part I, ch. 7-8, p. 89-108
19. July 19 -- Part IV, ch. 5, p. 401-418
20. July 26 -- Part IV, ch. 6, p. 419-428
21. Aug 2 -- Appendix, p. 431-451

Read along with us/me? You can read online here.
 
I am still in Part IV, ch. 3, p. 364-387.

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Some of Her Words that struck me so far:

(those underlined, in bold, caps locked are mine)

"Principle 4: ...personality of children, must not be encroached upon, whether by fear or love, suggestion or influence, or undue play upon any one natural desire."

How to implement? Is it even possible? You respect their personhood by not suggesting or influencing them?  

Therefore:

"Principle 5: …we are limited to 3 educational instruments — the ATMOSPHERE, the DISCIPLINE OF HABIT, and the PRESENTATION OF LIVING IDEAS."

More words from her that focus on respecting and not manipulating a child's personhood:

"We may not make character our conscious objective.” (which is ironic because this book is entitled Formation of Character)

"We may use DIRECT TEACHING and COMMAND, but not INDIRECT SUGGESTION, or even the old-fashioned ‘influence’."

"Avert a certain outbreak by a pleasant CHANGE OF THOUGHT; so that the HABIT of these outbreaks be broken."

“Display of temper: is a form of self-indulgence."

 

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My rambled thoughts:

So basically she is saying that The Atmosphere, The Discipline, and The Life (living ideas) are the very instruments needed to help “Form” character by ways of 1)Instruction (take note that it should be direct teaching and command, and not indirect suggestions), 2)Opportunity and 3)Wholesome Occupation. Plus, help in getting rid of hindrances through Habit Training.

She keeps repeating how we SHOULD NOT interfere with the Psychological Development or their very personality. What does encroaching look like? How do we, as parents, indirectly suggest something? Better question perhaps: How are indirect suggestions bad?

I asked these questions over at the forum and one of the moms gave a short explanation. She said that influencing each other is inevitable and even natural. But what CM cautions against is the kind of influence that parents or teachers use so that child “obeys” but only because child idolizes or merely fears her teacher or parent. We need to be aware if we are playing with the child’s emotions just to get them do what we want them to do.

examples of such “encroaching” come to mind:

“If you love me, you have to behave.” 

“Your teacher said you have to do this so that you will have a “smiling” stamp. 

“Keep quiet na.. hala! andyan na young police! quiet na!” (Keep quiet or else the police will get you.) — I hear this often in our culture. 

saying “good job!” ALL THE time! 

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Regarding helping child avert their attention:

I would usually ask child to go to the room and let child have his/her fit there and come down when he/she is ready. But it seems that “tantrums” should be prevented all together.  I shouldn’t wait. I should nip it in the bud and give child an alternative way of reacting. Empower child by giving child the will to take over their emotions. I can see the wisdom in that but of course, it’s a different matter when it is happening at 6 in the morning or when 4 kids are fighting or having some sort of tantrum, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

BUT it is good to ponder upon. 

and pray about.

and work on.

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Another strong reminder:

“…a childish fault, left to itself, can do no other than strengthen."

I have young ones and NOW is the time (not when they reach their teens) to gently help them develop better habits. Gentle is key. Again, encroaching should be avoided. Easier said than done. But definitely worth trying.

… All by His Grace. 



 

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