Monday, January 11, 2010

Ideas...What am I feeding my children?

Today as I was reading Parents and Children, a quote from Ms. Mason caused me to stop and spend some time reflecting upon the ideas around our home that are waiting to be taken in by one of the littles.

An idea fitly put is taken in without effort, and, once in, ideas behave like living creatures-they feed grow and multiply.  Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, page 77

As a mom, I try to be very careful about the kinds of foods that are allowed into our home.  I try to offer a range of healthy snack options.  The children then have a choice from a variety of healthy foods. As I read about ideas today, I found myself wondering if I am as cautious with the ideas that enter the minds of my children as I am the foods that enter their bodies.

As I considered this I realized that I am very particular about healthy food and healthy ideas.  We have made a decision to limit T.V. viewing to a little before bed each night.  We only let the children choose from movies we have previously approved.  We have choosen carefully the newspapers and magazines that we have in our home.  The boys occasionally play on an educational website, but this time is very limited.  We do not own any video games at this point and I can't foresee us getting any.  I am very particular about the quality of books I want my little ones to read.  Charlotte Mason referred to books that do not contain living ideas as "twaddle".  The last couple of years I have been working tirelessly to remove the "twaddle" from the bookshelves, toyboxes and movie cabinets of our home.  I try to think of twaddle as the junk food of books, movies and toys.  These types of things do not offer living ideas to feed the minds of my children.

I began to feel encouraged by all of the hard work to weed twaddle from our home.  But then I thought about all of the times the boys come to me with a question about this animal or that insect or that historical person they have heard mention of. Many times I answer with an I don't know or an I'll try to find out later.  I need to make more of an effort to feed the ideas that they bring to me.  I want to be more disciplined about looking up questions they have and providing answers that are meaningful.  I need to get better at asking questions that will encourage the children to investigate and uncover more living ideas.

My children possess a sense of wonder that always seems to amaze me.  I want the atmosphere of our home to encourage living ideas.  It is so easy for living ideas to be snuffed out by media and entertainment.  If not guarded carefully homes can become so overwhelmed with "stuff" that children can't find one thing that delights their soul.  A deliberate attempt must be made to keep things quiet in terms of entertainment and overstimulation.  If my children are always looking to be entertained it will be very hard for them to explore meaningful ideas.

Activities that promote meaningful ideas:
nature walks
painting/viewing artwork
aquarium to keep outside finds
family games
living books

Next time my children are engaged in an activity I need to ask, Is this beneficial?  The short time I have to educate my children reminds me of this verse:
Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise;  redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16


1 comment:

Amy in Peru said...

loving your blog. I'm going to follow you :)
I found you through the AOy0 list and your comment about thumb sucking :) we have a 2yo thumb sucker...

Amy in Peru