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Mother Culture: Chapter 4 – Home Discipleship

{Alright, first I must apologize for not keeping up to date with my notes on the Charlotte Mason meetings that we have had.  It is so spectacular to get together for encouragement and learning with likeminded parents and so, for those of you who haven’t been able to join us, I’m sorry that I dropped the ball.  Hopefully, I will be able to catch up over the next little bit on some of the notes I’ve taken and on the ideas that we have dicussed.  This past week we got together and discussed chapter 7 (on creating a home learning environment) and part of chapter 12 (on reading and narration).  I hope you are keeping up with the readings better than I am keeping up on posting my notes.  Please join the discussion and let me know how these readings have impacted you.}

If you are just joining our little, virtual Charlotte Mason reading group then welcome to Mother Culture.  For more details about the book and the reading schedule please see this post.

Chapter 4 – Home Discipleship

At it’s core discipleship is about a relationship – with Jesus.  Our greatest goal in teaching and training our kids at home in our families is that they will know and love Jesus.

As such we approach discipleship from three ways: giving direction (so that they will know the way to go), giving correction (to bring them back if they wander off of the path) and giving protection (from temptations and unrighteous influences).

Direction – To properly “train up a child in the way he should go” we need to know the way laid out in the Bible.  Giving direction is shaped by the four qualities of leadership: sympathy, encouragement, love and instruction.

            Sympathy (vs. Strictness) is love focused on the present, is not time efficient (that is hard for me!)  Sympathy is not about permissiveness!

            Encouragement (vs. Guilt) is love focused on the future. We need to affirm our children to help them to grow in confidence.  Let them know that you see their potential.

            {What do you think of the word potential?  I know that it should mean that we see how amazing a person can grow to be but often I have seen it mean how amazing they are not now!  “Potential” has the potential to be a very negative word, doesn’t it?}

            Love (vs. Neglect).  Give them a reason to follow you!

            Instruction (vs. Information).  Giving instruction goes beyond information giving in that it leads to personal transformation.

“It has been said that the essence of teaching is causing another to know.  It may similarly be said that the essence of training is causing another to do.  Teaching gives knowledge.  Training gives skill.  Teaching fills the mind.  Training shapes the habits…  The parent who does not recognize the possibility of training his children as well as instructing them, misses one of his highest privileges as a parent, and fails of his most important work for his children.” – H. Clay Trumbull, Hints on Child Training, 1890

Correction is getting back on the path.  We need to be careful not to be harsh while still using appropriate methods for correcting.  They suggest four methods:

            First is Training with Spiritual Discipline.  This involves choosing to parent by faith.  Not by flesh, fear, feeling or formula.  We need to rely on God’s leading through his word and prayer to help us to properly parent.

            Second is Training with Verbal Discipline.  We need to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus say?”  He would be “gentle, but authoritative”; “loving, but truthful”; “gracious, but firm”.

            Third is Training with Behavioural Discipline.  We need to use appropriately both natural and logical consequences.  Letting our kids fail is a natural consequence that we are so apt to protect them from.  Logical consequences are ones that don’t necessarily arise directly out of their actions but which our children need to expect to bear as a result of their behaviour.  In our home, we remind the kids that they have chosen any consequences that they have since they make their own decisions about how they will behave.  Logical consequences might, for example, be doing extra chores to “practice” getting them done more efficiently when they have been goofing around during working together time.

            Fourth is Training with Physical Discipline.  While there is a lot of debate about whether spanking is ever appropriate there is no doubt that any physical discipline must be used as a last resort and only be done when we are certain that we are acting in love and guided by God’s grace.

Protection is about helping our children to stay safe on the path of life.

We need to protect our children’s appetites for our desires lead our hearts.  We need to help to protect them against unwise relationships and against ungodly media as well.

{What do you think about your children’s ability to choose friends?  Should they stay away from all “unsavoury” characters?  Or should they, in as far as we know that they are safe, be able to befriend peers with lesser morals or behaviours?  How can we hope that our children will influence others for eternity if we engineer all of their interactions to avoid people who might lead them astray?  Would it not be better to, instead, train them to be strong leaders and not followers?  I am, of course, being something of a devil’s advocate but I do want to know how you strike a balance between being over protective and leaving your kids unprotected at all.}

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the reading and on discipling your children, Friends. 



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