Routines, Interruptions and Developing Virtue

I thought I\’d try to stay on topic with the Charlotte Mason blog carnival this year but the theme for this one was \’Unconsidered Aspects of Physical Training.\’ My mind wasn\’t so much on physical training as it was on wondering how to start off this new home schooling year in light of a number of changes in our situation and how I could focus on the development of virtue in my children\’s lives. I decided to read the chapter anyhow and was surprised to read some of the ideas CM associated with physical training and how she connected it with the concepts of heroism and virtue.

 It would be good work to keep to the front this idea of living under authority, training under authority, serving under authority, a discipline of life readily self-embraced by children, in whom the heroic impulse is always strong. 

  Fortitude by Sandro Botticelli (c.1470)

Monday at the pool while our youngest two are getting back into swimming lessons after a long break…

Moozle seems to have forgotten just about everything since we were last here!
They were swimming once a week but our routine was interrupted by two engagements, a wedding and a funeral; a daughter leaving home; a son finishing home education and entering on a new stage in his life, in addition to the usual things like the flu and visitors. We had so many changes last year.

Now we\’re attempting a new routine or maybe I should say a juggle as more interruptions come – another wedding with a son leaving home; a daughter turning 21; another son finishing home education and a husband who will need to travel overseas for work.

So how do I develop virtue when plans go awry and life doesn\’t roll along smoothly? When habit training gets interrupted and all my hard work seems to evaporate?
Virtue: Strength, from straining, stretching, extending;
          a particular moral excellence.
The idea of virtue being trained or exercised is analogous to training our bodies to become physically strong and fit by exercising (straining, stretching and extending) our muscles. Virtue is developed by use (exercise) and the more \’muscle\’ we build, the more fluid or natural the action associated with that virtue becomes.
To continue with the swimming – something clicked with Moozle over the week of swimming and by today, Friday, she\’d regained the lost ground and was put up a level. Her older brother also got put into a higher level. He has developed more physical strength in the past year and it translated into his swimming ability.
They both had gained strength (virtue) from earlier training, in addition to some maturity, and it kicked in again after some stretching and extending of their bodies over the week. It was very heartening for me to realise that the earlier hard work hadn\’t evaporated! It just needed to be jump started like the flat battery we had last week.

I picked up a wise saying from Elisabeth Elliot many years ago that I like to use, \’Do the next right thing.\’
It helps keep me on track or realign if I wander.
My job is to be faithful so I work on developing virtue in my children and leave the results to Him – something I was trying to express here.
If I drop the ball, I pick it up again and keep on going.

I remind my children that \’We are God\’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.\’ Ephesians 2:10  
And make sure they are nourished on ideas:

A habit becomes morally binding in proportion to the inspiring power of the idea which underlies it.

I\’ve had some very special moments over the years when my children have surprised me and shown facets of their character, virtuous qualities, that I didn\’t know were there until circumstances gave them an opportunity to display their beauty.


4 thoughts on “Routines, Interruptions and Developing Virtue

  1. I love that word workmanship because the original Greek is poeta. \”We are God's poetry\” sounds so lovely and nourishing.Thanks for sharing an important idea when we are trying to train habits during a crazy, busy season of life.


  2. It can be hard taking care of and nurturing young children while in the midst of life changing events and interruptions. I love the wise though, \”Do the next right thing.\” That is such a simply saying and yet so profound.Congratulations on the graduations and marriages!


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