...the woods are lovely dark and deep
but I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep
and miles to go before I sleep
"Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way. 'The creatures never have any habits while I am looking!' a little girl in some story-book is made to complain; but that was her fault; the bright keen eyes with which children are blest were made to see, and see into, the doings of creatures too small for the unaided observation of older people."
- Charlotte Mason 1.57
Have you ever watched a wasp digging a hole?
an inch worm twirl in mid air?
a katydid clean its legs?
a spider catch and eat a grasshopper on its 'stair' web?
Some days are good days to just stop doing and watch.
He's two! How can a bite of scrambled eggs on a spoon cause an entire morning of anguish?
Oh, but it can. I know you know what I'm talking about. The thing is, he usually loves eggs.
A while back I read this and loved it. To let hunger be the natural "leverageable asset" in this scenario, the tool, the lever, it's not my place to force it. Anyhow, we tried that. It doesn't work.
So I showed my husband what I had read and we agreed- new plan.
So the story goes...
2 yo says, "No eggs mommy." And I say pleasantly, "Ok, you don't have to," and I return to our breakfast reading.
Then the 2yo says, "I want pancakes!" To which I reply, "Ok! This pancake is yours," and I set his just out of his reach, "and you can have it as soon as you try a bite of eggs."
Of course we know his answer, which I ignore and keep on with the reading.
Now my patience has to kick in. He begins to cry. I ask is he done with breakfast? Yes? Ok. And we clean him up and he goes off to play.
I know he's hungry, yet I clean off the table except for his spot and go on with the morning. Later he comes up to me, "I'm still hungryyyy. I want pancakes." Employing that pleasant voice, I say, "Ok!" and he trots into the kitchen where I add, "Remember? One bite." To which we know his answer and I again say nicely, "Ok. You can go play." He does.
I keep on with my morning and he keeps asking for food with my response being the same each time.
The window of visibility a 2yo gives to the inner struggle of his own will is fascinating to me- in a loving mothering sort of way. It's something that becomes more private as children grow. But at 2 their personalities are shining new.
He's playing happily one second and peeking at his food in the kitchen the next. Nope, it hasn't magically disappeared. Sorry, bud. Next, he's on the floor crying, at which point, I treat him like a person in pain and offer a hug instead of the whole, "I told you..." attitude that can come so easy but does absolutely no good. Plus, I read somewhere that the way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice, and that is not what I want mine to hear someday when they're grown and gone.
This is my hardest point. One morning I had to sit down and stop trying to get any housework done because it was so exhausting to watch that tiny little will struggle so hard and for me to respond the way I wanted to.
It's been almost a month now since he made that first step of strengthening his weak will and making the right choice. Meals are not perfect, but there have been so many triumphs over which I get joyful fireworks in my heart while he's just like, "Mmmm... happy stomach."
I tell him I'm proud of him and what hard work it is to make a good choice. Then I stop and remember to be quiet. A few words will do, Mom. I sit there and relax my tense shoulders and smile watching him eat. I marvel and wonder at what kind of man he will become with such a sturdy determination behind that adorable face and dynamite personality.
The next morning in the shower the memory comes of when I read about Mrs. so and so training in a new habit as if unfalteringly tending a sick child in bed with measles, and I tell myself it's ok that there's still a big pile of yesterday's work waiting for me to wake up to because there are so many other intangible successes worthy of remembering, and marveling at. It makes me thankful I get to be a mom.
And then I wonder how I am going to do all this when school starts again.
...should be fun!
"But let us beware of words; let us use our eyes and our imagination in dealing with the young; let us see what they are feeling and help them by the flow of our responsive feeling. But words, even words of praise and tenderness, touch this delicate bloom of nature as with a hot finger, and behold! it is gone.
Let us consider carefully what feelings we wish to stimulate, and what feelings we wish to repress in our children, and then, having made up our minds, let us say nothing. We all know the shrinking,
as of a sore place, with which children receive some well-meant word from a tactless friend."
-Charlotte Mason 2/200
"A quietness was in the room while he spoke. Laura felt as if she were hot, dry, dusty grass parching in a drought, and the quietness was a cool and gentle rain falling on her.
It truly was a refreshment.
Everything was simple now that she felt so cool and strong,
and she would be glad to work hard and go without anything she wanted herself,
so that Mary could go to college."
- By the Shores of Silver Lake
a gentle coming alongside
careful not to hinder
not inserting myself between my child and the Holy Spirit
joy & peace
seeking strengths vs. a focus on weaknesses
These seemed to be my recurring themes from this weekend's Living Education Retreat as I look back over my notes and listen to what is still resonating within.
The friends new and old, the shared ideas, the atmosphere-- all full of beauty.
I think I'll have more to say about what I learned... later.
“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.” Charlotte Mason
"Miss Mason was loved by all who saw her and had many dear and intimate friends. She had the power of seeing and bringing out the good in everyone, but I think
she loved little children best of all.
"For the Children's Sake" is the motto of the House of Education, and it was for the children's sake that she lived and worked. She provided them with an education which is "an atmosphere, a discipline, a life," she reverenced them as "persons"
and recognised their need for mental food in order that they might grow.
She gave them living books, a love of literature, art, nature, craftsmanship, joy in learning and full lives. She never allowed the methods which she evolved or, as she preferred to say, "chanced to find"--to be called by her name; they were always "P.N.E.U."
Her work will go on, not only because it is to be administered by those whom she has chosen and trained for this high responsibility, but because of its intrinsic vitality and truth."
- I read this quote recently at: In Memoriam
...In my commonplace book, from our current read aloud
...the gentle word picture that made me love the story Robin Hood:
"Now, lad," said he, "tell us thy troubles, and speak freely. A flow of words doth ever ease the heart of sorrows; it is like opening the waste weir when the mill-dam is over full.
Come, sit thou here beside me, and speak at thine ease."
"...'a duty which seemeth to us sometimes ugly and harsh,
when we do kiss it fairly upon the mouth, so to speak, is no such foul thing after all.'
'Methinks thou art right,' quoth Robin, 'and, contrariwise,
that when we kiss a pleasure that appeareth to be gay it turneth foul to us,
is it not so, Little John?'"
Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And the merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lips, redder still,
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,
I was once a barefoot boy!
-John Greenleaf Whittier
But what makes seasonal fruit so scrumptious is that it is part of a rhythm,
a rhythm that allows you to access it only once a year.
- B. Welch
...Celebrating a clever, bubbly 7 year old! It's amazing what a good living book will inspire.
"It rests with parents to make low the high places and exalt the valleys,
to make straight paths for the feet of their little son."
If we want our children to stay hungry for knowledge, remain interested in questioning, enjoy the wonder of discovery, then we must leave them some clutter-free hours for friendship, the great out-of-doors, the rich world of imagination, and the satisfaction of the skilled use of art supplies, music, dance, wood and clay.
We're reading the book When Children Love to Learn (link above) for our summer book study.
Several moms, a bunch of kids meeting at a park to chat and play.
It's a lovely way to spend a summer morning here and there.
Reading a good book with the companionship of others is wonderful, don't you think?