Friday, November 4, 2016

An Adequate Conception of Children

"Our crying need today is less for a better method of education than for an adequate conception of children......Our business is to find out how great a mystery a person is qua person.  All action comes out of the ideas we hold and if we ponder duly upon personality we shall come to perceive that we cannot commit a great offence than to maim or crush, or subvert any part of a person." 

--Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education (Vol. 6 of her series; p. 80)

This applies to much more than education, I think; it applies to our approach to parenting.  How many parenting books are on the shelves?  A good parenting book can be so useful, but I do think an "adequate conception of children" must undergird any approach or method.  This pithy quote gives a simple framework for evaluating our methods, and gives rise to several self-assessment questions. 

Do we have an adequate conception of children?

Do we make it our business to explore the mystery of a child's personhood?

Do we ponder personality? 

Do we undertake parenting or educational methods that may seem effective, but that actually maim, crush, or subvert a child's personality? 

This morning I just happened to open up to Psalm 139 and I read this to my children at breakfast--the Psalm on how God created us uniquely and knows us intimately.  Only later did I smile at the tie-in to my reading earlier in the week.   "Search me, God, and know my heart."  (Psalm 139:23a) 

 I am inspired to spend extra time today searching my own children's hearts and pondering their personalities!

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