Did you jump on the bandwagon of picking a word for 2011?  The point is to choose a word that will inspire you in the coming year, a word that you would like to see manifested in your life or family.  It's a good idea, I think.  So, did you pick one?

I finally settled on a word.  It's consider.  It works for me on so many levels.  It simply means to think carefully about something.  Even consideration works as it means to think carefully and continuously. My mind immediately goes to the verse, "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Luke 12:27)
Pot of bulbs for Valentine's Day.  Note the nest the littles added.  Sweetness.

So, when I came across this story in The Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Cholmondley, I knew I had my word for 2011.  Never mind that it's already halfway through February.

It seems that some of the senior students wished to have more comfortable furnishings at the House of Education - some sofas or overstuffed chairs, perhaps? Seems like a reasonable request.  They presented their ideas to the other students who were not moved at all.  They liked the open rooms and small chairs as it made it easier to move about and huddle by the fire.  Why change things?

These older students were determined to update and improve the seating situation. (I want to insert a joke here about feng shui and Mason, but I can't make it work...)   Undaunted, they proceeded to a conference with Ms. Mason. They cautiously approached their unsmiling mentor. 

In a few quiet words which compelled the utmost attention she said that there was one word in the language which they must learn to understand, the word consideration.  They must consider before they reached a conclusion.  The word implied the power to see principles and to apply them to the notions which inspire common thought.  Quietly, sternly, shortly, she made them aware of her horror of idleness of mind, then she dismissed them.  They realized that armchairs and sofas were not important matters for conference deliberations.  They were also aware that they had been thinking lightly and irresponsibly.  That was why they had been quietly and absolutely rebuked. (p. 154)

Her response does seem a bit harsh, but her advice is good.  I suspect that perhaps these students had it coming, as Mason seems to have previously considered the situation.  I also wonder if the importance that she placed on the outdoors had something to do with her response. ("Never be within doors when you can rightly be without." Vol. 1 p. 42) I don't know.  But I do think that consider is a great word.  I think I'll choose it.


  1. Interesting post. I feel like I am always considering so many things. It certainly keeps the mind (and heart if the subject under consideration is weighty) gainfully employed.

    Where might one procure this book? I would love to read it.

  2. This was so good to read. For me it was a discovery, I did not know of this book and it seems a wonderful read to get to know CM better and to get some context and particularities that can teach us so much.

    I haven´t thought about a word for the year, but it is something to "consider", :), even if we are almost two months past the beginning of the year.

    Thanks for sharing Nancy.

  3. Pockets,
    (Cute nickname!) Oh, my. I checked on Amazon and they have some, but they aren't cheap! The book is very interesting, but paints Ms. Mason as a non-controversial saint. I'm still waiting for someone to write a balanced, accurate and thorough biography on her. Can you borrow a friend's copy?

  4. Yes, Nancy, I saw the price too and decided it will have to wait.
    So that is what you think about it! Unless you write that book we will keep waiting for long, ha ha ha. Or do you know any who showed interest on this project?

  5. Silvia,
    Yes, there are some who are very interested in writing this. But even if they do, it will be years before it gets published.

  6. No, no word of the year here. You have got me considering just what that Feng Shui joke could have been though.

    With all the snow and cold I have been in nesting-mode lately and even imagined Charlotte reminding me to not make my home too comfortable or I'd never go outdoors. I suppose our beloved Miss Mason is a saint in the NT-sense: set apart and dedicated but a real person and not without fault. Without having read the book, I'm wondering if the real problem was that they did not consider for themselves but came to her for a conference.

    50 extra points for laying down all your letters!

  7. I love the person who added up the points for Scrabble!!! Consider is a great word for this new year. Mine is WAIT. My son is waiting until next year to marry , so a long engagment. I've found WAIT to be much of what prayer is about. But then I've found this new phrase that could be added to it by Puritan Thomas Watson: God is a delicious good.

    That is what happens when you wait.

  8. What a great post. We picked a word for the whole family this year. It is CALM. We are worinking on making calmness at all levels of our family.

  9. I have no word of the year. I have trouble focusing that way I guess. "Consider" is a good one though. I had to show your first photo to my son who likes Scrabble. :) That story about the furniture is intriguing and interests me in the book as well. Too bad it's pricey, but I have a lot of other reading to do anyway!

  10. Consider - Very, thoughtful, very deliberate. I really like it:)

  11. Nancy, I have a question. Is it that we (CM inspired moms) are we so different to the rest of homeschoolers and in some regards others in general? Or are we missing something?
    I explain. I do not think there is value in things such as:
    a) Reading and answering questions
    b) Looking for books that "may be fun" for our children
    c) Doing math and showing their work to show they follow directions, and because that will help build higher foundation math (I currently use oral math with my oldest, and just a bit, not much of paper and pencil, and consider that is a great math foundation, but I feel I am from Mars).
    d) This may be because my girls are young, but I always "learn" along with them. Though I know there will be a time when they work independently in their assignments, am I silly to think I will always be reading aloud to them? I just don't get that some give them weekly assignments and if they finish on Thursday they do not do "schoool" Friday, because we are always doing "school". Yes, we vary the intensity, of course, our "normal days" are more to the point of the short lessons, while on a "vacation" we do more of our own things, but here we are always reading, always writing, always learning about the world and making relationships.
    In one word, why is it that what I value seems to be invisible to others, and they seem to focus on things I do not even consider for my children or me.
    Thanks for listening!

  12. What I meant about showing their work, it is when a second grader, say, is explained addition with borrowing with a formula, and they have to show the steps every time. I am not there yet, I want the girls to understand why we have that formula, and I am still working on number concept development, more than, less than, twice as much, before, after, greater than... and show grouping and regrouping and not that much an "ad hoc" formula in lots of operations that they seem to get wrong often.

  13. My word for 2011 is... drum roll please... (I haven't even mentioned this on my own blog yet... :)


    Living the best today possible: not worrying about tomorrow because today has enough trouble, and not fretting over yesterday, because it's now a part of my story like it or not, and God will use it to my sanctification and to His glory.

    I love that you've chosen consider...
    I think if I considered too long I might accumulate too many words. ;)

    amy in peru

  14. @ Dawn: "CALM" is a great choice, I think!
    @ Bonnie: "WAIT" is a perfect fit, then!
    @ Silvia: You understand CM so well. Keep at it as they get older. It IS very different than everyone else and I agree with your thoughts completely. (And it DOES work in high school, despite the skeptics.)
    @ Amy: I like "TODAY", too.

  15. Thanks for the reassurance Nancy. I came back to delete the comments, but it is too late. I just did not want to sound as "I know best", or to imply many good parents and homeschooling families are ruining their children.
    I just had one of those days, and I am glad you made me CONSIDER. I have considered too and my word is LISTEN.
    My cry is that if we do not have children in schools, why keep doing things very similar to them, when it is clear that true knowledge resides on principles such as CM.
    But your comment and my husband´s words of respecting other´s opinions and ways of conducting their life and understanding learning humbled me and made me feel bad I spoke so fast... then I concluded that I need to do less talking and much much more listening.

    Once more, your comment about this principles working in the teen years were what I needed to not just hear, but "listen to".

  16. arghhh.... I meant "on principles such as CM´s ones", and the mistake I ALWAYS make, "these, not this, principles"