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Monday, May 27, 2013

the way of the will.

This subject is, I believe, the single most wanting characteristic in our culture today.

We want, want, WANT everything now, now, NOW. 
In. every. area. of. life.

We want to tell everybody what we're thinking RIGHT NOW (and we can via twitter or facebook; whether it's worth the telling or not).

We want to share the beautiful moments with the entire universe RIGHT NOW (and we can via instagram or other modes of photo sharing).

We want to eat a hamburger or a taco or a salad RIGHT NOW (and we can via numerous fast food outlets or myriad quick fix options available on every shelf of the local grocery store).

We want to know a good story RIGHT NOW (and we can by watching a two-hour summary via the theater or DVD or by gobbling down an abridged version or even worse, reverting to the clif notes).

We want to feel good RIGHT NOW so we... well, fill in the blanks of what the impatient, undisciplined and/or worldly would do.

But the real question is not what we WANT, but what we ought as applies to both action and thought. And in order to do or think what we ought, we must WILL ourselves to it. Obviously, some decisions require more power of will than others.

Tarapoto's best, no wait, only FAST FOOD... a very real and constant temptation for me to skip out strengthening my will when it comes to our family's eating enjoyment. I am not saying that fast food is bad.  Or that taking advantage of quick foods is wrong. It's just that, not so long ago, I shared that cooking was one of the areas I needed to work on... "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."

Like my friend Tammy wrote in her post, this is not just a consideration for children. I think that's why this post was so long in coming. There is just so much that could be said. AND, it hit so close to home for me!! This is a lesson we as parents must take time to consider for ourselves if we are ever going to really teach our children a single blessed thing. Especially those of us raised in the generation of Instant Satisfaction. We must will ourselves to live a disciplined lifestyle in order for some of these things to rub off on our children. Of course we must keep in mind what my friend Megan mentioned, "Once again, though a disciplined will is not a necessary condition of the Christian life, it is necessary to the development of the heroic Christian character." And this is of course, what I'm so intensely longing after, praying for and thinking of as I'm writing this post. In order to do that:

We must be willing to go the distance, to will ourselves to make right choices even though they may be difficult or even postpone gratification for a very long time.

This chapter is absolutely chock full of food for thought, as relates to personal life, education and the life of a nation. You should read it! :) And maybe someday, I'll write up full posts for all the thoughts I had... you never can tell. :)
Two guides to MORAL and INTELLECTUAL self-government.
The way of the will: Children should be taught,(a) to distinguish between 'I want' and 'I will.' (b) That the way to will effectively is to turn our thoughts from that which we desire but do not will. (c) That the best way to turn our thoughts is to think of or do some quite different thing, entertaining or interesting. (d) That after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigour. (This adjunct of the will is familiar to us as diversion,whose office it is to ease us for a time from will effort, that we may 'will' again with added power. The use of suggestion as an aid to the will is to be deprecated, as tending to stultify and stereotype character, It would seem that spontaneity is a condition of development, and that human nature needs the discipline of failure as well as of success.)
Read more about how we Pursue the Way of the Will here.

This has been another 'thinking out loud' post, along the lines of chapter 8 of CM's Homeschooling Series, Volume 6, Towards a Philosophy of Education. Did you know that the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is going through this volume systematically? Interested? Check out recent posts and the schedule for future posts here.


Tammy Glaser said...

We are so NOW oriented that there is social media called INSTAgram. I had not thought of the way of the will in connection to the instantaneous nature of cyberspace. Thanks for broadening my thinking!

Dawn said...

Couldn't agree with you more.
Blessings, Dawn

Patty said...


Excellently put, as usual. And how I have to fight the desire to do what I want NOW! And yes, if we don't learn it, how in the world can the kiddos?!? Thanks, too, for the awesome nature videos :) My girls can't wait to see what you find next!

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