Charlotte Mason’s view on moral lessons

As for moral lessons, they are worse than useless… It is a wonderful thing that every child, even the rudest, is endowed with Love and is able for all its manifestations, kindness, benevolence, generosity, gratitude, pity, sympathy, loyalty, humility, gladness; we older persons are amazed at the lavish display of any one of these to which the most ignorant child may treat us… [A]las, we are aware of certain vulgar commonplace tendencies in ourselves which make us walk delicately and trust, not to our own teaching, but to the best that we have in art and literature and above all to that storehouse of example and precept, the Bible, to enable us to touch these delicate spirits to fine issues.

— from Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason, 1922

I am learning to homeschool from Charlotte Mason’s wisdom, which she recorded in her six volumes of education theory. This quote particularly strikes me. Even in the midst of a poor-obedience day, my children will surprise me with unexpected hugs and kisses, flower bouquets just for mommy, and astute questions about life. They truly are “delicate spirits.” I feel like a clod-hopper trying to stamp morality into them. I need to simply allow excellent art, literature, and God’s Word do the work through me.


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