Let’s dig back into our reading of The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being! This book is a collection of the writings about education from Plato to the modern era, the writings that have informed the development of western civilization and classical education.
Most Wednesdays here in 2016 (and at the rate I’m going, through 2017!) I will be sharing a quote and a musing. I’d love to get some discussion going about what it means to be carrying on this tradition.
Today’s quote is from Seneca, a Roman statesman who lived as a contemporary of Jesus and Nero. He wrote several influential treatises, some of which included considerations about education.
Education isn’t an easy gig.
Guidance [of children], however, is difficult, because we ought to take pains neither to develop in them anger nor to blunt their native spirit.
Seneca here warns us of two opposing dangers, two ditches on either side of our right path: either building resentment and anger in our children (how he says this happens might surprise you) or by stifling and smashing their personalities and energy.
We each probably tend toward one or the other side, but sometimes we even careen back and forth in attempts to be balanced.
I agree. We ought to take pains.
What does this mean for us?
We need to be taking pains.
Bringing up our children isn’t an easy task. It requires attention, intention, and a willingness to change and to sacrifice.
The matter requires careful watching…like things easily deceive even a close observer.
How often do we stop and really take note of the dynamic happening in our homes?
Homeschool moms need to hold the line.
There is nothing that makes the child hot-tempered so much as a soft & coddling bringing up.
When we molly-coddle and act as handmaid or nursemaid to our kids, they never learn how to handle the buffets of life and curb their bursts of passion. Of course we treat babies that way, but we need to let our kids grow up and experience hard work, consequences, and problems without rescuing them.
He should be subjected to nothing that is humiliating, nothing that is servile; it should never be necessary for him to beg submissively.
On the other hand, we are not to beat down our children, either. They should be responsible and able to submit to authority, but also to be an authority themselves, which they will not be if they are subservient.
Homeschool moms need to allow freedom.
If [his spirit] is commended and is led to expect good things of itself, it mounts up, but these same measures breed insolence and temper; therefore we must guide the child between the two extremes.
Bottom line: We’re going to have to always be paying attention. Hard truth. It’s our job. We can do it.
I’d love for you to share either another implication you draw from this quote or your thoughts on my own musings.
* The Great Tradition by Richard Gamble + Start Here: A Journey Through Charolotte Mason’s 20 Principles by Brandy Vencel with an online book group
* You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith (hardback)
* The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer (Audible audio)
* Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung