Parents Are Peacemakers (3 of 7): Charlotte Mason Parenting Lessons

As we continue with the Parents Are Peacemakers series, we come to the first need in the home - leadership. We read that "growing up needs bringing up" and the differences between "well-brought up" and "badly brought up". Important distinctions! It is heartbreaking to read the post-war description of the roles of mother and father. But the honesty about human nature is what I appreciate so much here - something we often forget about and therefore expect perfection from our children. Something Charlotte Mason teaches us about repeatedly.

Enjoy this next installment of Parents Are Peacemakers and let me know your favorite parts!



Synopsis:          (1) “It’s human nature.”

                        (2) Inheritance (Discussion).

                        (3) Childhood (Discussion).

                        (4) Growing up.

                        (5) Leadership at home.

                        (6) “Ought” and “must,” obedience (Questions).

1.         “Oh well, that’s human nature. You won’t alter that.” It is usually said when someone has got into trouble of some sort, or

when he has given way to some weakness. Is it true? Can human nature be altered? What is human nature?

            Desires, emotions, appetites:—we all share these. Individual powers and disposition:—these come from inheritance. Things come down from father to son, we inherit them, a good singing voice, a fiery temper, blue eyes.

2.         Get instances of things inherited. Discussion.

            National characteristics are inherited too, making an Englishman differ from a Frenchman, a Spaniard from a Russian. What we inherit accounts largely for our individual differences, that and our very varying circumstances (our “environment”) as well as things happening round us. We all take each other very much for granted but what a wonderful and mysterious thing is every human person. There are all kinds of possibilities and powers hidden behind the well-known faces of our family—talents bottled up, feelings hidden, thoughts unexpressed, wishes ready to bubble out unexpectedly. We think we know each other only too well—Jim’s temper and his charming smile, Betty’s generosity and her fibs, Father’s slow ways, his wonderful memory, Mother’s sharp tongue, her quick, comforting fingers. How often we get surprises! Young people cannot think that older ones were ever young, older people forget what it was like to be young.

3.         Can you remember a five-year-old feeling? A twelve-year-old? A fifteen-year-old? Can you remember the tangled up feeling of all your wants going in different directions—your furious angers and rude words just when you had decided to be good? Your unkindness when you really loved so much? Telling a story because you were frightened (you meant to tell the truth)? Taking Tom’s toy without asking him, breaking it, hiding the bits and being sorry?

            Discussion of children’s muddled ideas and keen wishes, instances.

4.         Think back, watch the family faces round you and remember what it is like to have this strong human nature (all its wants and feelings and ignorances and inheritances) all in a tangle, a muddle, good impulses and bad on top of each other, fighting with each other. Yes, parents must be the peace-makers for each one of the family while they are growing up. They must bring up all the parts of this strong, unruly human individual, into an ordered, purposeful, clear-sighted person, into a person at peace in himself. Up-bringing is the right word. Growing up needs bringing up. We talk of “well brought up” and “badly brought up” people. The badly brought up ones have not been brought up at all, they have been left down, left in a muddle, left to get on with their growing best way they can. Human nature has been too strong. Many of them never have grown up, they behave childishly, long after they have ceased to be children. Can you think of anyone like that, over eighteen? Instances.

5.         Every person growing up needs one thing that Fathers and Mothers can best give them and they must give it together. They need wise, firm, loving leadership. Do you find that young people of the present day are selfish, lack standards? If so, it is because their parents never succeeded in giving them a wise lead and a firm rule while they were growing up. “Lack of discipline.” Yes perhaps, but it is better expressed as lack of good leadership. Those who follow a leader accept discipline, correction, punishment. Are you leaders at home or do you let things be? Is it “Oh, he’ll learn better when he is older—at school?”

            When the Fathers come home after the war many of them will hardly know their children, they will be diffident and slow to take a lead. Mothers, you must help them. You, too, do not see as much of your children as you would wish while you are busy with war work. Together you must decide what really matters, stick to it yourselves and show the children that they must do so too. A few just rules always obeyed, a few good manners always followed—be kind to animals, don’t tease, be friendly to visitors, take turns—whatever you decide on, stick to it and the children will follow your lead and will grow up.

6.         They will grow to know the meaning of the words “must” and “ought.” It is these two words which keep the family peace. Much disobedience and naughtiness in children are their way of finding out if these words exist and what they mean. They try it on. When they know the things they ought and must do, or be, they obey, they face facts. Lead them, bring them up to the peace of this knowledge.

            Discussion: obedience, disobedience, naughtiness. Instances.

Typed by the Charlotte Mason Poetry transcription team.

Google Doc - Parents Are Peacemakers (3 of 7)
Parents Are Peacemakers (1 of 7)
Parents Are Peacemakers (2 of 7)

Onward and Upward

a favorite

Onward and Upward is the theme this week in The Cloud of Witness. So many inspiring thoughts! Are you reading along with us this year? I wish you would. If you share about it, don't forget the "the" as in #thecloudofwitness. I love seeing on IG and FB when something strikes you. Just knowing that so many of you are reading and meditating on the same verses and poems ties us together - Charlotte Mason was so wise in giving this to her graduates.

This post is all about what's going on around here. First of all, there are big changes coming to Sage Parnassus!  Really big.  In fact, I am a little nervous about it all, so patience and prayers are appreciated as my blog/website will be migrating and getting a makeover. This will hopefully be complete by February.  We shall see. (And I'm so excited about the new logo...I wonder if you can guess what it is?)

Now would be a good time to thank all of you.  Your support, encouragement, comments,  and emails each year have been such an encouragement to me.  I feel blessed by these relationships. So many good projects are taking off around here, mostly because of YOU.

Have you heard about my Living Education Lessons? I am pretty thrilled with how these intimate classes are changing lives and homeschools in small but significant ways. It's a community without the noise of Facebook and other social media. And each class is recorded, so if you can't make all of them, you can still keep up.  Read more about it here (the testimonials at the bottom are helpful).  Right now, registration is open for a Season 1 class that has a few seats left. Pray about joining us!

Did you choose a word for 2018?  Here's a post where I talk about a word that I chose in the past that I seem to always go back to! And if you haven't seen my 2017 Reader's Journal or shared your own, please do so!

I am looking forward to sharing in Colorado at the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat on Feb. 2-4.  Join me as we focus our weekend on the works of Charlotte Mason.  Registration is coming to a close soon. Two weeks after that you can find me in Baltimore at the In a Large Room Retreat!  There is still time to register for that event, also.

The series Parents Are Peacemakers will continue soon! I had to reach out to the Charlotte Mason Poetry Transcription Team to help me with this task as my time is taken up with many other good things right now.

Are you thinking about scheduling a mentoring session with me? I would love to walk beside you and guide you on your CM journey.  Right now I am scheduling for the beginning of March so contact me soon if you wish to meet in the next few months.

Finally, the Living Education Retreat this year should be another worshipful, relaxing, inspiring event.  The flyer/registration will go out to the email list by February 1st, so make sure you are on that list if you want first notice. (Sign up at the bottom of this page.)  I can't wait to share about all the things we have in store for you.

As the theme this week in The Cloud of Witness states, "Onward and Upward!"

Teaching From Peace,

Reader's Journal 2017

It's that time of year! Next year I plan on publishing this list on Dec. 1st as per a few requests.  It seems it might be helpful when thinking about Christmas gifts to post this before the holidays instead of after.  I agree.

So, do tell me what you think!  Have you read any of these?  Did you post a list of the books you read this year?  Please link in the comments! The comments on the Reader's Journal posts are some of my favorite discussions.

1.  Mariner - A Voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge by Malcolm Guite

This recommendation really needs its own post.  I didn't know what to expect when I picked up Guite's tome.  I've always been slightly fascinated by Coleridge and have read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner a few times. But what I found was a feast! He so deftly weaves the mystical and strange poem together with Coleridge's own life journey and shows us how Coleridge comes full circle back to faith. Sad that most of what I knew before was tied to his addictions. Guite's writing and insight kept leading me along and I was sad when it was over. Bravo!

2. The Genesee Diary - Report from a Trappist Monastery by Henri J.M. Nouwen

When both Kate and Marcia recommended this book to me, I knew I had to read it. Nouwen spends 7 months in a monastery and we get to read his thoughts during that time.  His insights, especially when it comes to traveling and speaking, resonated deeply with me. Reading this theologian's struggles with his faith and belief were so down to earth and real. It ends during Advent which is also when I fittingly finished the book. Lots of commonplace entries from this one!

3.  Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard

So I guess I'm a Millard fan now.  I loved Destiny of the Republic, River of Doubt, and now Hero of the Empire. Millard takes  lesser-known events from lives of the  famous and turns them into...page turners!  This is an astonishing book about the early days of Winston Churchill when he was a prisoner of war and his amazing escape. Lots of biographical information that was new to me. This one went directly to dh's nightstand.

4. The Curve of Time by Muriel  Blanchet

The wonderful ladies from the Charlotte Mason West - Conference at Puget Sound presented me with this book as a thank you gift.  I could hardly put it down. It is the story of a widow, Muriel Blanchet, who decides to sail along the coast of British Columbia summer after summer with her 5 children. I was constantly amazed at her harrowing experiences.  I wondered if it could be done in today's day and age without someone turning her in. There were truly scary events and I was amazed that they came through all of them unscathed. There was also beauty and wonder and she expresses all of it so well. So good.

5. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Did you know that assisted living was a new term coined in about 1983? Having recently lost a loved one and also moved a set of parents into assisted living, Gawnade's book about end-of-life living was an eye opener.  I feel like I understand more clearly what is most important. Please read this before your relatives get close to this stage of life - it will help you navigate things with more compassion and understanding. Thank you, Cindy.

Here's the rest of the list!  An "*" means I highly recommend it.

6. Heaven's Ditch* by Jack Kelly (no relation!)
7. Hillbilly Elegy* - A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
8. The Young Travelers Guide to England and Wales by Trease (wrote about this here)
9. The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
10. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
11. Lab Girl* by Hope Jahren
12. The Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster
13. Hannah Coulter* by Wendell Berry (my 3rd time through?)
14. Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
15. Soul Survivor* by Phillip Yancey
16. Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Hudson Taylor
17. Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard
18. Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
19. Plan B by Pete Wilson
20. The Living* by Annie Dillard
21. A Gathering of Larks by Abigail Carroll
22. A Fierce Love by Shauna Shanks
23. A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz
24. Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung
25. The Alphabet of Grace by Frederick Buechner

Past lists of reading goodness:

This is a record of the books I read mainly at night when I retired for the day.  It does not include the books I read for our school nor does it include the dozens of books I read only portions of.  Some I blogged about, most I did not.  The Bible, devotionals, CM's 6 volume series, or research stuff - none of that is included here. I learn something from everything I read but  I don't necessarily like everything I read.

Teaching from Peace,

Christmas Books by Tasha Tudor

Madonna by Moonlight by Tasha Tudor - print available at Tasha Tudor and Family 
(isn't it beautiful?!)

ANNOUNCEMENT!  For those hoping to get a copy of The Cloud of Witness for Christmas, I have good news!  Riverbend Press has a limited supply that will ship on 12/18.  You can pre-order now.

When I first started blogging, talking about our favorite Christmas books was somewhat of a novelty. Today, Christmas book lists on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram are now ubiquitous! This is my 12th such list to share with you. Please see the links at the end for my past posts full of delicious titles.

This year is all about Tasha Tudor.  Her illustrated books have always been favorites here and when it comes to Christmas, they really shine! They evoke a tranquil, simpler lifestyle from days gone by.  The lovely website, Tasha Tudor and Family has Advent calendars, adorable cross stitch ornaments, Christmas cards, and other holiday goodness.

This first book, Forever Christmas, is about Tasha Tudor, not by her. We enjoy looking through its pages every year.  Building her Christmas lanterns is so fun! Here are her directions:
You make snowballs - you have to have the right kind of snow, wet - and you have to put them together in a circle and build them up and up until you make an igloo. You leave a space in the back so you can place a candle inside it. There is no draft on the candle, so it will burn a long time. When you light it, it looks like magic. (p. 30)

Please tell me you have an Advent calendar for your sweet family - they are so delightful and add to the true anticipation of the season, keeping things moving along when your energy begins to flag and you feel like skipping the Advent reading that day. It becomes part of the routine that children are so good at sticking to when we might grow weary.  We like displaying both of these - Tasha Tudor's Advent Calendar and A Book of Christmas.

I've mentioned this favorite before Take Joy! is a large book of stories, hymns, and poems selected by Tasha.

Here are three, perfect-for-smaller-hands titles! Samantha's Surprise, The Dolls' Christmas, and The Christmas Cat.

A favorite to cuddle up with and read as a family, Becky's Christmas is a yearly tradition! All about the handmade surprises and preparations her family works on as Christmas approaches.

 And what Christmas collection would be complete without a book of carols?!

Missing from this list are The Night Before Christmas (which is packed away and is illustrated by Tasha) and Corgiville Christmas (which is on the way to my house right now).

Am I missing any?  Be sure to let me know!

Teaching from Peace,


Here are my previous posts on Advent and Christmas books:

What to Read For Christmas
Full Hearts
On Christmas Traditions and Books
Good King Wenceslas
The Canticle of the Bees
Longing and Waiting 
Christmas Books!
Christmas Books 2014 
Simple and Holy: Favorite Advent Readings
A Christmas Read-Aloud 
A Christmas Read Aloud for 2016