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The Demon of Exclusiveness

 from Elsa Beskow's Around the Year


"We must make it our purpose to bring Beauty to places where it is not."
 - Charlotte Mason (4.55)

Since our book discussion group talked about this section last week, this thought has  been on my mind. How does this apply to me in my home?    Ms. Mason talks in this short but rich section about when we shun the family, friends, and circumstances that God has given us and seek to only surround ourselves with like-minded people and refuse to enter places that are messy and ugly, we miss the point of Beauty.  Beware of the demon of exclusiveness.

She wrote this volume (Ourselves, Vol. 4) for students and the lessons were under the umbrella of Citizenship.  But of course, so much of it applies to all ages. I encourage you to read it alongside your students as it will stir up thoughtful discussions.  And if you read it with Mere Christianity by Lewis, even more so.

As a parent and teacher, it is helpful for me to keep these ideas in the forefront of my thinking whether we are making handcrafts (who can I give this to?), performing Shakespeare (what neighbor can I invite?), reading history (are there any veterans I can talk to?), picture study (who else might appreciate this?) or learning an instrument (can I share this with others?).

And again, we see that it comes back to community and relationships which is one of the reasons we call this a relational education.  It really came to life to me today at the home we visited.

"For happiness comes of effort, service, wide interests, and, last and least, of enjoyment; and when people put enjoyment, even of beautiful things, in the first place (and indeed in place of all else), they miss the very thing they seek, and become enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper." -Mason, 4.55

Truly,

Nancy

7 comments:

  1. Awww... the puppy just stole the show! Lovely post , Nancy!

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  2. I love it Nancy! Especially this paragraph since I seem to need concrete examples :)

    "As a parent and teacher, it is helpful for me to keep these ideas in the forefront of my thinking whether we are making handcrafts (who can I give this to?), performing Shakespeare (what neighbor can I invite?), reading history (are there any veterans I can talk to?), picture study (who else might appreciate this?) or learning an instrument (can I share this with others?)."

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  3. With the flexibility of homeschooling, one opportunity we have to avoid the demon of exclusiveness is meals on wheels. Pamela and I have been delivering meals to those in need, once a month, for years!

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  4. I love that you included neighbors. Sometimes we homeschoolers can isolate ourselves within our own communities and totally miss the opportunities that are all around us. We learned this when we began inviting neighbors to our composer parties. They started asking us when the next one would be whenever we saw them out and about. This life of ours is a treasure meant to be shared.

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  5. What a great post! I think the "demon of exclusiveness" is something that ESPECIALLY needs battling in the "big family, homeschooling" arena!!! This is a great challenge to me!!! I love the Elsa Beskow illustrations (off to add that book my Amazon wishlist ;) ) and your puppy is just adorable!!

    PS - Guess what I found at a used book shop? :) The Year Around Poems for Children! You had fondly mentioned it at your Small Things talk and I was so excited to see it! We LOVE it! :)

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  6. Heehee. I already have it on my wishlist! :P

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  7. Love the quotes and the book looks beautiful!

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