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Charlotte Mason’s first principle seems so simple and obvious — of course I know my child is a person! But knowing your child is a human is different from seeing them as a person born with a fully functioning mind, heart, and spirit. So I’ve put together some statements for you to consider and think deeply on your view of children.
ONE | Children don’t have the ability to reason, so I make the decisions for my child. Or, I’ve noticed my child is very capable of reasoning, but he needs my experience and knowledge to help him understand right and wrong and the consequences of each choice.
TWO | Children lack desire to do anything but play and have fun. Or, Children are born with a desire to learn and become better.
THREE | Children don’t have a sense of responsibility. The only way to motivate them is by giving them rewards or taking away privileges. Or, My children have a natural desire to have purpose and be needed, as long as I keep the tasks within their skill level and give constructive feedback.
FOUR | The only way to get kids to read books is if it has potty humor and/or simply ideas. Or,
Children have intelligent minds capable of finding interest in many topics, if presented as living ideas.
FIVE | I regularly reprimand my child in public. They aren’t old enough to feel shame or embarrassment. Or If my child makes a mistake I redirect them or talk to them in private.
SIX | Kids say the darndest things! I have no reservations about laughing at what they say. Or,
I listen to my child with respect and respond appropriately.
SEVEN | My goal as a parent is to ensure my child adopts my beliefs and opinions. Or, want my child to seek truth and do what he knows is right, even if it’s not popular.
EIGHT | I regularly tell my child what to think. Or, I respect my child’s opinions and ask them follow-up questions to encourage deeper thinking.
NINE | I save the higher-quality food for adults and the lesser quality for kids. They just don’t appreciate the finer things in life. Or, children learn to appreciate whatever they’re regularly given. I feed them healthy, delicious food from the start.
TEN | When my child hits, refuses to share, or shows other age-related behavior I ignore it because they’ll eventually grow out of it. Or, No matter the age my child is I always teach them what is appropriate behavior.
ELEVEN | Children and teens are egocentric and selfish, that’s just how they are. Or, Children are born with egocentric tendencies, but they are capable of being taught to think about others.
TWELVE | When a child speaks to me I smile, nod, give a generic answer and move on to my adult conversation. Or, When a child speaks to me I bend down to their level, look them in the eye, and acknowledge what they said by repeating it or asking follow-up questions. Like all people, children want to share ideas and connect with others.
How did you do? Did you mostly agree with the first statement or the second? Ponder on which areas you can improve and view/treat your children as born persons.