- I've been slowly reading Laying Down the Rails, A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook compiled by Sonya Shafer. I'm on the chapter about moral habits, the section on obedience. The following quotes stood out to me.
"First, and infinitely the most important, is the habit of obedience. Indeed, obedience is the whole duty of the child, and for this reason--every other duty of the child is fulfilled as a matter of obedience to his parents. Not only so: Obedience is the whole duty of man; obedience to conscience, to law, to divine direction." Charlotte Mason Vol. 1, p. 161
"Now, if the parent realize that obedience is no mere accidental duty, the fulfilling of which is a matter that lies between himself and the child, but that he is the appointed agent to train the child up to the intelligent obedience of the self-compelling, law-abiding human being, he will see that he has no right to forego the obedience of his child, and that every act of disobedience in the child is a direct condemnation of the parent. Also, he will see that the motive to the child's obedience is not the arbitrary one of, 'Do this, or that, because I have said so,' but the motive of the apostolic injunction, 'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right' " Vol. 1, p. 161)
"The mother's great stronghold is in the habit of obedience. If she begin by requiring that her children always obey her, why, they will always do so as a matter of course; but let them once get the thin end of the wedge in, let them discover that they can do otherwise than obey, and a woeful struggle begins, which commonly ends in the children doing that which is right in their own eyes.
This is the sort of thing which is fatal: The children are in the drawing-room, and a caller is announced. 'You must go upstairs now.' 'Oh, mother dear, do let us stay in the window-corner; we will be as quiet as mice!' The mother is rather proud of her children's pretty manners, and they stay. They are not quiet, of course; but that is the least of the evils; they have succeeded in doing as they chose and not as they were bid, and they will not put their necks under the yoke again without a struggle. It is in little matters that the mother is worsted. 'Bedtime, Willie!' 'Oh, mamma, just let me finish this'; and the mother yields, forgetting that the case in point is of no consequence; the thing that matters is that the child should be daily confirming a habit of obedience by the unbroken repetition of acts of obedience. It is astonishing how clever the child is in finding ways of evading the spirit while he observes the letter. 'Mary, come in.' 'Yes, mother'; but her mother calls four times before Mary comes. 'Put away your bricks'; and the bricks are put away with slow, reluctant fingers. 'You must always wash your hands when you hear the first bell.' The child obeys for that once, and no more.
"To avoid these displays of willfulness, the mother will insist from the first on an obedience which is prompt, cheerful, and lasting--save for lapses of memory on the child's part. Tardy, unwilling, occasional obedience is harly worth the having; and it is greatly easier to give the child the habit of perfect obedience by never allowing him in anything else, than it is to obtain this mere formal obedience by a constant exercise of authority" (Vol. 1, pp. 162-164).
These are only a few of the wonderful quotes in this section of the book. I am finding them quite convicting.