Encouragement for Lazy Mothers

Dear Reader,

This is my last post on Charlotte Mason’s fifth book, Formation of Character. If you have been paying attention, you will know that I have also begun simultaneously blogging on the sixth one, Towards a Philosophy of Education, as a part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival. That keeps me on track so I will continue to go at their pace and fill in inbetween with other terrible interesting thoughts I have that I am sure you will enjoy reading about. I am also aware that I need to go back and do volume 4, Ourselves, at some point. It is a very different sort of book, not about education but about our own inner lives.

But for the present, Formation of Character ends, apart from appendices, with a paragraph that may be encouraging to those of us more lax in our parenting:

“That children should have the peace of God as a necessary condition of growth is a practical question. If we believe it is their right, not to be acquired by merit nor lost by demerit, we shall take less upon ourselves, and understand that it is not we who pasture the young souls. The managing mother, who interferes with every hour and every occupation of her child’s life, all because it is her duty, would tend to disappear. She would see,with some amusement, why it is that the rather lazy, self-indulgent mother is often blessed with very good children. She, too, will let her children be, not because she is lazy, but being dutiful, she sees that — give children opportunity and elbow-room, and they are likely to become more natural persons, neither cranks nor prigs.” (p.263)

Okay, so maybe she specifically says that laziness is not the goal. But I think there is also a very good point here that our duty to our children consists not in controlling every hour of their lives but often in just leaving them alone. This is an idea which our society definitely seems to have lost.


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