Intellectual Courage & the Courage of Confession

In common with many other homeschooling families, we have a ‘together time’ during the day. We use this time to go over the Scriptures we’re memorising and for a time of prayer, and on different days we include such things as poetry, Plutarch, Shakespeare, a current read aloud and other additional things I’d like to cover with everyone.

Once a week I’ve been reading from Ourselves by Charlotte Mason and this week the reading was about Courage.
I thought the words below about intellectual courage were very enlightening. One of my children is often very reluctant to take on anything new and his first reaction is to baulk and say he can’t or he isn’t any good at this that or the next thing. He’s not lazy but I think the term ‘intellectual panic’ would describe how he reacts at times.
It wasn’t until I read this that I realised that courage was the key to overcoming this tendency and reading this aloud gave us a good opportunity to talk about it together.
…there is what we may call the Courage of our Capacity––the courage which assures us that we can do the particular work which comes in our way…


It is intellectual Courage, too, which enables us to grapple with tasks of the mind with a sense of adequacy. Intellectual panic is responsible for many failures; for our failure to understand an argument, to follow an experiment, and very largely for our insular failure to speak and comprehend the vocables of foreign tongues.


 Intellectual panic is responsible, too, for the catchwords we pass as our opinions. We fear it is not in us to form an opinion worth the holding and worth the giving forth.
We’ve always prayed together but as I was reading these words on the Courage of Confession I suggested something I don’t think we’d never done before.
…the Courage of open, frank Confession of that which we have done amiss or left undone, in the small matters of daily life, to the person concerned, is very strengthening…
I asked everyone to have a minute or so of silence, eyes closed and to ask the Lord if there was anything we’d done recently that we shouldn’t have done, or left undone what we should have done, and then I asked if anyone wanted to share what came to their attention. I was surprised that all of them kept quiet with their eyes closed (without giggling or squirming or feeling uncomfortable), that I was the one to break the silence, and that all of them shared something. It was a holy moment and I was touched by what each of them shared. It was very strengthening as Charlotte Mason expressed above and it was good for them to hear that I also had things to confess as well.





3 thoughts on “Intellectual Courage & the Courage of Confession

  1. I also wonder if building trust helps: as the child begins to trust that parent would not assign sometime completely impossible, then the child balks less and feels more courageous about new things.


  2. Maybe, but ds is full of bravado & doesn't mind having a go at things generally. I do find that once he embarks on something that seems difficult to him at first, the confidence comes. It's just the initial step he baulks at.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s