Authority and Docility

Authority and Docility

Episode #12 | Authority and Docility

In the last three episodes, I discussed the big ideas of attachment– what it is, why it’s important, and how we can nurture a secure attachment with our children. In this episode I’ll be discussing the second foundational element: authority. Because, as Elsie Kitching wisely observed “mother love is not enough to secure for children that continual progress which is necessary if character is to be achieved.’ (Kitching, Children Up to School Age)

In this episode I dive deep into principles 3 and 4: 

“The principles of authority on the one hand, and of obedience on the other, are natural, necessary and fundamental; but–

These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon whether by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural desire.


“Here is the divine order which every family is called upon to fulfill: a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, and, therefore, it matters infinitely that every family should realise the nature and obligations of the family bond, for as water cannot rise above its source, neither can we live at a higher level than that of the conception we form of our place and use in life.” (Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children)

“That principle in us which brings us into subjection to authority is docility, teachableness, and that also is universal. If a man in the pride of his heart declines other authority, he will submit himself slavishly to his ‘star’ or his ‘destiny.’ It would seem that the exercise of docility is as natural and necessary as that of reason or imagination; and the two principles of authority and docility act in every life precisely as do those two elemental principles which enable the earth to maintain its orbit, the one drawing it towards the sun, the other as constantly driving it into space; between the two, the earth maintains a more or less middle course and the days go on.” (Charlotte Mason, Home Education)

“Thought the emancipation of the children is gradual, they acquiring day by day more of the art and science of self-government, yet there comes a day when the parents’ right to rule is over; there is nothing left for them but to abdicate gracefully, and leave their grown-up sons and daughters free agents.” (C Mason, Parents and Children p. 17)

“But we have been taught better; we know now that authority is vested in the office and not in the person; that the moment it is treated as a personal attribute it is forfeited. We know that a person in authority is a person authorised; and that he who is authorised is under authority.” (Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education)

 “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of  parenthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— 

“the powers of heaven cannot be bcontrolled nor handled only upon the cprinciples of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to acover our bsins, or to gratify our cpride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or ddominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens ewithdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to… the authority of that man.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-43)

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