Alpine Flowers, Mt Kosciusko
Some thoughts on atmosphere & relationship…
I’m taking Oswald Chambers out of his initial context here, but this quote from his book My Utmost for His Highest meshes with what I’ve been reading in Charlotte Mason’s book, Parents and Children, especially Chapter 5:
The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed.
It’s easy to put all our work into the ‘doing’ of education and to forget or disregard the importance of ‘relationship’ – with our child and with the Divine Teacher.
And without the relationship we don’t have the atmosphere that is vital part of the whole:
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life.
Chambers says that relationship is the area where we find ourselves constantly assailed.
To attack with a view to overcome, by motives applied to the passions
I generally know when I’m being assailed.
I become aware that I’ve made decisions without first pausing in my spirit.
I’ve made a decision based on my passions or feelings or a sense of urgency.
For me this isn’t usually in the big decisions. I’ll talk those through with my husband.
It’s all the small ones that add up over time.
Charlotte Mason’s words on co-operating with the Divine Teacher are encouraging but at the same time sobering:
Our co-operation appears to be the indispensable condition of all the divine workings. We recognise this in what we call spiritual things, meaning the things that have to do more especially with our approaches to God; but the new thing to us is, that grammar, for example, may be taught in such a way as to invite and obtain the co-operation of the Divine Teacher, or in such a way as to exclude His illuminating presence from the schoolroom.
Part of that co-operation involves keeping our relationship with God, and the atmosphere it produces, not just intact but vigorous and healthy.
It is wonderfully empowering, not to mention reassuring, to know that God instructs my child.
He knows my child’s innermost being.
He is familiar with all his/her ways.
‘God doth Instruct.’––In the things of science, in the things of art, in the things of practical everyday life, his God doth instruct him and doth teach him, her God doth instruct her and doth teach her. Let this be the mother’s key to the whole of the education of each boy and each girl; not of her children; the Divine Spirit does not work with nouns of multitude, but with each single child.
Let the mother visualise the thought as an illuminated scroll about her newborn child, and let her never contemplate any kind of instruction for her child, except under the sense of the divine co-operation.