According to some sources, every one of my kids (my husband and I as well), would probably be categorized as "strong-willed". If I didn't know better, I'd say that strong-willedness was a Tuttle family trait. :) But what would you say, if I told you, that we were actually born very weak-willed individuals all?
Charlotte helps clarify how things really are when she explains, "The baby screams himself into fits for a forbidden plaything, and the mother says, 'He has such a strong will.' The little fellow of three stands roaring in the street, and will neither go hither or thither with his nurse, because 'he has such a strong will.' He will rule the sports of the nursery, will monopolise his sisters' playthings, all because of this 'strong will.' ...But, all the time, nobody perceives that it is the mere want of will that is the matter with the child. He is in a state of absolute 'wilfulness,'––the rather unfortunate word we use to describe the state in which the will has no controlling power; willessness, if there were such a word, would describe this state more truly." (v1 p321). If you'd like to read more about 'will training', click here, and see helpful links below.
So, as it is, in our family, weak wills are constantly being stretched and strengthened. Every one of us has come a long way... and yet we still have a long way to go. :) The following excerpt pertaining to the will, is a modified example of what I write down periodically in my 'Mother's Diary'. Read more about that here (v2 p106).
For me lately it is cooking. I've never really liked to cook. And for some reason, in recent weeks, it's become more of a chore. But someone must cook, or there'd be certain mutiny among my crew. And we'd be very, very hungry. So, even though I don't want to cook, and wish someone else would do it, I know that I ought to. So I do. Many days I can think of a thousand things I'd rather, and so have to will myself to do it; twist my own arm, so to speak. Now, I've taken measures to make it easier on myself, like having a plan, organizing my recipes, delegating some tasks, etc. But do I really have to *like* to do it?! I don't know. But I do know that the hours preceding dinnertime would be a lot less miserable if I could find a way to be cheerful about it. :) So, my next step in pursuit of the way of the will is to approach cooking cheerfully, without even a hint of complaint. And believe me, this is gonna be huge! My plan is to think about something else. Listen to a sermon, an audiobook? I don't know what, but changing one's thoughts is a very CMish idea, and one I fully intend to employ. :)
Then, there is one of us who is strengthening his will muscles in the area of math. This certain someone does not enjoy taking time to attend closely to the math lesson. He does not enjoy using his time to do his math exercises. This, for him is a huge daily feat of the will.
Another certain someone, who shall also remain nameless, has by way of the will, been overcoming in the area of copywork. Even though this person has special talent in this area, for some reason it had become a burdensome and most dreaded task. Being made aware that the way to victory lay in taking it in manageable sized chunks, and going straight to task to get it over with quickly, has been key for this person.
Then there is one who usually makes it his business to be the most attention loving groupie wherever two or more are gathered. He has a most perpetual test of will power especially during school hours: having to will his pencil not to drum, his feet not to tap, his tongue not to click, his chair not to tip, his voice not to burst out with every answer... etc. maybe you know someone like this. If you don't have one in your homeschool, be very, very glad. :)
The cutest little someone in the family is currently valiently working on willing herself not to suck her thumb, the sweet chick. For such a small person, she's admirably facing this gargantuan exercise of the will, and though she's had some setbacks, she's doing a fantastic job.
Lastly, there's the one who seems to do everything well, and get along with just about everybody all the time. But even this one doesn't escape the occasional test of will, and is currently working on willing to obey right away, because otherwise forgetfulness sets in immediately within ten seconds or so.
These are some of the tests of will we've been facing lately.
How 'bout you? What are some areas you have seen improvement by working on willing?
"The will is the controller of the passions and emotions, the director of the desires, the ruler of the appetites." v1 p320
The Will -- The Conscience -- The Divine Life In The Child
Looking for an easy read? Simply Charlotte Mason has a free book called "The Way of the Will", where they've gathered some of the most important CM quotes and put them together in a easy-to-digest format.