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Authority: A Gift and a Grace

postcard postmarked 1919 and featuring our house on the right

I have mentioned in the past about Charlotte Mason and her wise advice on parenting.  I still consider some of her words to be the most thoughtful parenting guidelines in print.  Recently, I have been reading more about her thoughts on authority and docility.  She says that these two are fundamental but that "they should be present but not in evidence: we do not expose the foundations of our house."  Nicely put.

She says that authority is a gift and a grace and then quotes these lines from a poem by John Keble*:

"As every rainbow hue is light, 
So every grace is love."

Authority is that aspect of love which parents present to their children; parents know it is love, because to them it means continual self-denial, self-repression, self-sacrifice:  children recognise is as love, because to them it means quiet rest and gaiety of heart.  Perhaps the best aid to the maintenance of authority in the home is for those in authority to ask themselves daily that question which was presumptuously put to your Lord - "Who gave Thee this authority?" -Mason 3.24

I must remember to ask myself this question - and to answer it - every morning.

From joy to joy,
Nancy


(You can read the entire poem here. It is quite lovely.)




9 comments:

  1. i love your posts. And that postcard! How cool to have such a 'historical' home :)

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    1. Thanks! Just think of your home as a historical home in the making!

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  2. Nancy, Where are those thoughts about authority and docility found (also in Vol. 3?)? What is meant by "we do not expose the foundations of our house?" -- Neat postcard!

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    1. Hi, Heidi! I have been reading Vol. 3 and in the preface and on the first page (no page number) is the quote about the house foundation. The other quotes are all from p. 24 of Vol. 3. I think she fully develops her thoughts about authority and docility in this volume. What I think she is getting at (and I could be wrong!) is that just as we don't leave the crude foundation exposed - we plant around it, paint it, etc. - so that it will be protected from varmints, appear pleasing to the eye and just doing its job - so with authority and docility they need to be in place and understood by everyone in the family and school. No showing off our authority or demanding docility - it should be running correctly and ever-present but not on display. We get to talk about the details at our next support group mtg. I want to know what you think she means!

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  3. Yes, lovely post and postcard!
    Thinking it must be COLD where you are!
    ( and your NC daughter in law must be cold)
    Lovely poem by Keble. Charlotte's words : continual self-denial, self-repression, self-sacrifice: ARE SO TRUE. Actually, I've never asked myself or the Lord that question.
    I always asked for help with parenting.

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  4. Hi Nancy~

    Such thoughts to ponder!! I think you described well Charlotte's idea of not "exposing" our authority/docility. Wish I lived a bit closer and could join in the conversation and fellowship over these thoughts at your next meeting! Thank you for linking to the poem, it is beautiful. :)

    Stay warm!!
    ~Tina
    Oh--the postcard is also beautiful!! How fun to hold a piece of the past that is your present!

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  5. Oooooo...how neat about your home! Lovely postcard! Thanks for this bit to chew on.

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  6. Wonderful wisdom and really challenging thoughts ... I certainly need to prayerfully ask the Lord the parenting "hows" in my family in its new season. I find it more and more humbling as the children grow up, because young adults chose so much for themselves - it has to be 'hidden' parenting!

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  7. That poem evokes Emily Dickinson's "Tell It Slant." It made me smile.....

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