Monday, November 12, 2007

Literary Addendum to Warm, Authoritative Parenting

Last week, I stumbled upon a thought-provoking quote from Great Expectations which I believe dovetails nicely with the posts on warmth and authoritative parenting. Pip, an orphan being "brung up by hand" by his sister, sees the effects of her arbitrary, cold parenting style upon his personality:
My sister's bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world in which children have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. It may be only small injustice that the child can be exposed to; but the child is small, and its world is small, and its rocking-horse stands as many hands high, according to scale, as a big-boned Irish hunter. Within myself, I had sustained, from my babyhood, a perpetual conflict with injustice. I had known, from the time when I could speak, that my sister, in her capricious and violent coercion, was unjust to me. I had cherished a profound conviction that her bringing me up by hand, gave her no right to bring me up by jerks. Through all my punishments, disgraces, fasts and vigils, and other penitential performances, I had nursed this assurance; and to my communing so much with it, in a solitary and unprotected way, I in great part refer the fact that I was morally timid and very sensitive (Chapter 8).
One reason why I love Charlotte Mason's recommendation to read living books is the effect they have on me. Both teacher and child grow as soul-satisfying books speak to their hearts and minds.

P.S. Two days later, I found another great quote about being seen and not heard from E. Nesbit's book, The House of Arden. Edred, a boy transported back in time and place to being locked in the Tower of London for knowing too much about the Guy Fawkes plot, notices the blessings of being able to speak his mind:
Every one was very kind to him, but he had to be very much quieter than he was used to being, and to say Sir and Madam, and not to speak till he was spoken to. You have no idea how tiresome it is not to speak till you are spoken to, with the world full, as it is, of a thousand interesting things that you want to ask questions about. One day–for they were there quite a number of days–Edred met some one who seemed to like answering questions, and this made more difference than perhaps you would think.
And, wait until you learn the identity of the answerer of questions . . . But, I shan't give away any spoilers . . .


Unknown said...

Hey Tammy,
I put the book by Laura Berk on hold at the library, looks like a good book. I think that Ms Berk and CM have a lott in common don't you? I was reading about your story when you took Pamela somewhere and you knew if she was forced she would have had a melt down...Michalea is the same way so I just walk with her and let her know it's okay but not force her to do something that will upset her. I am reading For the Family's Sake and she mentiones CM a lott and I love anything that is about CM dont you?

Anonymous said...

Good books!
So many great books and lack of time to read them all!

walking said...

Robyn, I do think CM understood how children learn, which is borne out by the research in Laura Berk's book! I love For the Children's Sake but have not had a chance to read For the Family's Sake . . . yet.

I know what you mean, Keri. My dear son graduates in three years, and I gleefully think of the time I'll have to read books in my "to-read" stack! :-)