Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nature and Habit

Truth be told, I am a rather lazy person, or at least I have a very strong natural inclination to be so. Many days I just want to sit and surf the internet, or sleep-or lay there if I can’t sleep. I often can not fall asleep at night, and falling back to sleep is a nightmare, if I am ever woken, and lets face it- how many young mothers are not woken up at night? So, I want to use this as my excuse, while knowing that being lazy exasperates my insomnia. Yet, even while I desire to be lazy, I love productivity. I love to make lists and get things done. I just have an inner struggle daily making myself get started or keep going. Charlotte Mason said that habit is ten times as strong as nature. And there is the key. I must build within myself contrary habits to my laziness.

I have been home with my children for a month. There were things I immediately began to address-new habits I desired to establish, because I felt I must. And there is another of Miss Mason’s gems of wisdom.

“The sense of must should be present with children; our mistake is to act in such a way that they, only, seem to be law-compelled while their elders do as they please. The parent or teacher who is pestered for 'leave' to do this or that, contrary to the discipline of the house or school, has only himself to thank; he has posed as a person in authority, not under authority, and therefore free to allow the breach of rules whose only raison d'ĂȘtre is that they minister to the well-being of the children. Two conditions are necessary to secure all proper docility and obedience and, given these two, there is seldom a conflict of wills between teacher and pupils. The conditions are,––the teacher, or other head may not be arbitrary but must act so evidently as one under authority that the children, quick to discern, see that he too must do the things he ought; and therefore that regulations are not made for his convenience. (I am assuming that everyone entrusted with the bringing up of children recognizes the supreme Authority to Whom we are subject; without this recognition I do not see how it is possible to establish the nice relation which should exist between teacher and taught.)” Volume 6, page 73.

And I do feel I am under authority. I must not let my children be quarrelsome, I must regularly instruct them in the scriptures, and I must provide wholesome foods to nourish their growing bodies. These are the three things which I have been endeavoring to work towards this month. Only in the second has habit won out over my nature already, probably, because that is where I feel the must most keenly. The other two are improving, but I still feel as if I have to concentrate and force myself to redirect the quarrelsome pair, and even more so, to plan and prepare large and varied, wholesome food. If I can be more diligent in these two things over the next month, I am confident habit will win out. And, to paraphrase Charlotte Mason, when habit has won over nature I will have secured easier days, at least in these things.

1 comment:

Starr said...

So I have been thinking today that you must be a lot like Mary. You are always seeking the better me that is not laziness! I on the other hand am a Martha...lots of lists, to many things to do. I was remined today that there is balance and that I need to slow down more and savor the moments.
Thanks for sharing your insights.