Sunday, March 9, 2014
Morals Do Not Come By Nature
This article is written as part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carival. You can see the schedule and subscribe to it here.
Reading School Education ch. 12 this week, several thoughts stood out to me.
One, She asserts that it's not about rules, but rather about principles, that God's law surrounds us and influences us like gravity. It's not an arbitrary, man-made set of rules, but truths and principles based on true reality given by the designer of us and our world Himself for our benefit.
She mentions that we as parents should "discern the signs of the times too; the tendency is to think that a man can only act according to his 'lights,' and, therefore , that it is right for him to do that which is right in his own eyes; in other words, that every man is his own final authority in questions of right and wrong. It is extremely important that parents should keep in view, and counteract if need be, this tendency of the day." It is interesting to me that the moral climate in England in Charlotte Mason's day was so similar to our present one. Our present culture clearly teaches the same idea - that each must decide what is right for himself and not judge another. In our times it is acceptable to think of ourselves, as individuals, as the central focus of life rather than beginning with God as the measure of all things and thinking of ourselves accordingly. Our culture looks through the wrong end of the telescope. She suggests that we as parents must be aware of this kind of teaching and counteract it.
She says here that, "Morals do not come by nature." and "A certain rough-and-ready kind of morality, varying with our conditions, does come by heredity and environment; but that most delicate and beautiful human possessions, an educated conscience, comes only by teaching with authority and adorning by example."
She goes on to explain how beautiful poetry and art, biography and especially Biblical biography and even the memorization of credes all promote morality and help a child form true ideas about what is right and what God expects of us. This is where a Charlotte Mason education shines! These are the exact means this kind of education utilizes and why I love it so much!
I liked her idea about having children collect mottoes daily. It made me think of Laurie Bestvater's wonderful book The Living Page which lists so many of Charlotte Mason's wonderful ideas for commonplace books of various types.
This chapter concludes with the idea that parents need to be clear in their own minds about the "manner of virtues they want their children to develop" and a caution, that children need to know that "being good is not their whole duty to God, although it is much of it; that the relationship of love and personal service, which he owes as a child to his Father, as a subject to his King, is even more than the 'being good' which gives our Almighty Father such pleasure in His children."