Back in February, I blogged about Masterly Inactivity, which I plan to cover at the Third Annual Charlotte Mason Conference in June. I am busy drafting my notes and have come across some wonderful quotes about habit training, without which masterly inactivity would yield anarchy. In a nutshell, habits (or law) ensures masterly inactivity (or liberty):
When I first read "perfect obedience" (page 164) back in 1999, my mind slipped into a catatonic state because between a strong-willed, random, wild child and an autistic child, perfect obedience was something I would not see in this lifetime. I completely overlooked those critical words, "they receive a few directions". Initially, I did not grasp the concept of working on ONE habit at a time.
Charlotte Mason believed a child with as few as twenty good habits was off to a great start in life (page 136). A mother harping on her kids with "Do this" and "Do not do that" was the last thing she had in mind, nor was children running roughshod over parental authority. Too much law produces overtaxed children, while too much liberty produces overtaxed mothers.
Charlotte suggested that habit training secures a smooth and easy life for parents. Seven years after incorporating her philosophy of education, I have to agree. Charlotte was spot on when she wrote, "Education in habit favours an easy life."
My kids are teenagers, which I forecasted to be a nightmare because of their challenging behaviors in their early years. They are a delight to us, and their grandparents enjoy their company and wish they could spend more time together. They are not perfect children and not always perfectly obedient in everything, but they have certainly come a long way from the bad, old days when I was often shot dirty looks by shoppers at Wal-Mart for not dealing harshly enough with those bratty kids in need of a pop on the hiney.