A Thinking Love
A thinking love according to Charlotte Mason is what we mothers owe our children. I’m a factual person. So one of the first things I did was to open my dictionary app on my tablet. What did I learn? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, thinking is the action of using your mind to produce ideas, decisions, memories, etc. They list several other options for the meaning but this most closely fits what we are to ponder for this reading. Now, let’s see how they define love. Love is, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. If I piece this together I get this: a thinking love is the deliberate use of my mind to make memories, share ideas, and make decisions for the person I feel strong and constant affection for. Now let’s see how this plays into what Ms. Mason has to say.
NOTE: I will be quoting the sections or sentences that spoke to me as I read this section. For the full section content, you may wish to visit this site http://www.amblesideonline.org and/look into the series in print format.
“The mother is qualified, says Pestalozzi, and qualified by the creator himself to become the principal agent in the development of her child.”
I love this statement. It’s very uplifting and reminds me when I have doubts, which is often, that God has given me what is needed.
“God has given to the child all the faculties of our nature but the grand point remains undecided- how shall this heart, this head, these hands be employed?”
Isn’t God awesome? First he prepared us mothers to be “qualified” to help our children develop. Then he gave our children their “faculties” from the start. Let’s see. He gave them the ability to think and make decisions, a heart to feel and from relationships, and hands to work, mold, and feel the environment with. He gave them all the things to which a mother is to mold and work with.
“Maternal love is the first agent in education.”
At some point, we are all motivated by love. It guides in our choices. If we love a subject, we learn all we can about it. If we love an activity, we spend time doing it or making careers of it. When we love a person, we are motivated to do all sorts of things such as doing the activities they love, watching the movies they love, sometimes even changing habits for them. We are motivated by love in all areas of our life. A mother’s love can motivated so much more sometimes (a father’s love too). I feel that right now I should emphasis “parental love”.
“They will take it up as their profession………with diligence, regularity and punctuality, which men bestow on their professional labours.”
Let’s look at some definitions. What is diligence? It is careful, persistent work or effort. What is regularity? It is the state of being regular (happening over and again at same time). What is punctuality? It is the characteristic of being able to complete a task at a designated time. We are to be as those who have professions (careers) are. We are to be careful in our work, give effort to it, do things on a regular basis, and complete tasks.
So, by now I am hanging my head in shame. For example, last week we got two days of school done and not all on the actual two days either. When using the definitions above, I have failed in my profession. However, this is not always the case. We must make our school days full of effort, happening everyday, set designated times to accomplish tasks, and then make sure to accomplish them. I have found, schooling the way we do is not always a Monday-Friday kind of thing. I find that school using CM methods leaks over into other areas and days. We might not see it as doing school during those times but it is. I still need to be more diligent and regular. I don’t seem to remember having this problem when I homeschooled my older two from K-5th grades. I also didn’t have the extra time demands. I need to be more mindful of non school times and how to use them to our advantage. An example would be using an audio book version for the times we are in the car picking up my oldest from band practice.
“That the mother may know what she is about, may come thoroughly furnished to her work. She should have something more than hearsay acquaintance with the theory of education and with those conditions of the child’s nature upon which such theory rest.”
What I get out of this is to be prepared in what we are teaching. We are not to wing it. The theory of education and the condition of the child’s nature to me means that we should be taking the time to know how our children learn, their personalities and to know how our method of education works so that we can blend them for the best education we can provide. We cannot know and employ CM methods without first studying them. We cannot simply state my son hates narration without knowing what narration is, the different ways it can be achieved, then employing those ways which best match my son’s learning style. For example, when reading An Island Story we stop after each small paragraph or two and he tells me about what we read. I write it down and we continue on. At the end of our reading, we have a complete narration which he reads back to me. We do this because the information in the story can be overwhelming for him in this book. I must give him time to assimilate the information. However, when we read Pinocchio he does better acting out the chapters we read. I then write down what he reenacted and the details he chose to use. Both are proper narrations and give a foundation that can be build on as he matures.
All in all, I have learned I need to be more diligent, regular in a deliberate manner. I need to be prepared in the work we do. Sometimes, reading Ms Mason can be enlightening and often times it points out my glaringly obvious failures. Though they can be hard to face, I am glad to be know.
Do these passages speak to you? Do you take something different away from them than what I shared? Please feel free to discuss or comment.