Monday, November 29, 2010


Just popping in for a quick post while I wait for a friend to email me back about an ANI chart question for Ivanhoe class tomorrow. I love that class, and those kids, and the recitation assembly that happens before class. We recite the Charlotte Mason Students' Motto, which is a good motto for mommies, too:

I am . . . a child of God, a gift to my parents and my country. I'm a person of great value because God made me.

I can . . . do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God has made me able to do everything required of me.

I ought . . . to do my duty to obey God, to submit to my parents and everyone in authority over me, to be of service to others, and to keep myself healthy with proper food and rest so my body is ready to serve.

I will . . . resolve to keep a watch over my thoughts and choose what's right even if it's not what I want.

My favorite part is, "God has made me able to do everything required of me." I just love hearing so many people say it all together. Every time it happens, I get this swelling sense that I CAN do everything required of me, and that I ought to, and that, with the Lord's help, I will.

I do love those kids. They are ages eleven to thirteen, and have lots of energy. I am not very good at being teachertorial, or authoritative, or whatever you call that proper-authority thing that great teachers do. However, we have discussed nobility, and beseiged Torquilstone, and tomorrow we are going to rescue Rebecca from the court at Templestowe and decide whether she should have refused Bois-Guilbert. Or, instead, we might talk about whether Richard should have played the knight errant (which he did) instead of immediately saving his kingdom from Prince John (which he did NOT).

Here is my favorite definition of magnanimity:

Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.

I really want to do the Richard question because I think it is the more complex of the two. Of course Rebecca should have refused Bois-Guilbert. But Richard, ah, Richard-- that lionhearted, romantic, legendary king. Can anyone fault his doings? But Sir Walter Scott does actually question them:

Novelty in society and adventure were the zest of life to Richard Coeur-de-Lion, and it had its highest relish when enhanced by dangers encountered and surmounted. In the lion-hearted King, the brilliant, but useless character, of a knight of romance, was in a great measure realized and revived; and the personal glory which he acquired by his own deeds of arms, was far more dear to his excited imagination, than that which a course of policy and wisdom would have spread around his government. Accordingly, his reign was like the course of a brilliant and rapid meteor, which shoots along the face of Heaven, shedding around an unnecessary and portentous light, which is instantly swallowed up by universal darkness; his feats of chivalry furnishing themes for bards and minstrels, but affording none of those solid benefits to his country on which history loves to pause, and hold up as an example to posterity.

Sounds like he had an active imagination. He reminds me a little of Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey before she realizes how ridiculous she is to seek out a Gothic novel in real life. (There is enough evil in life without seeking for it in dank castles and ruined abbeys, as she eventually realizes.) But according to Scott, Richard never matured enough to learn that true nobility lies in doing one's duty with wisdom and generosity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why We Can't Have a Conversation

Recently, Citizens Against Government Waste caused quite a stir with a clever commercial speculating on the future economic and political outcome of our government's recent actions. (By recent, I mean in the last twenty years, maybe longer.) I thought the ad, while chilling, was an effective wake-up call for those who may not understand the implications of all that debt. And I was surprised by some responses to the ad.

I am an economic conservative. I believe the borrower is servant to the lender. We ought not to be in debt if at all possible. Going into debt is stupid unless there is an extremely compelling reason.

Going into debt is stupid for individuals, and it is stupid for governments. There is a short list of good reasons to go into debt. What are these reasons? This is where debate ought to take place on the issue of the National Debt.

Unfortunately, economic liberals have focused on the presence of the Chinese in the commercial, saying the commericial is a symptom of the "new McCarthyism" in which the Chinese are demonized for holding American debt.

Economic liberals, please understand that economic conservatives do not dwell in the victim-mentality paradigm. Economic conservatives believe in personal responsibility, which means that going into debt is generally the fault of the debtor, not the lender. Economic conservatives do not say, "Those evil Chinese held us by the throat and forced us to borrow money from them!" How ridiculous. WE are the stupid ones, and we need to stop it.

The CAGW ad was well-placed rhetoric meant to say to Americans, "We have a problem, folks!" And we do have a problem. Whether or not we literally become servants to the Chinese in twenty years is beside the point. (That was rhetoric. It got your attention, didn't it?) It would be nice if we could get past the he-said/she-said blaming and move on to determine which debt situations are acceptable to both economic liberals and economic conservatives. After we figure that out, we may be able to move forward with some sense. But we will never get anywhere by refusing to listen because "they're insulting so-and-so".

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Speaking Worldviewishly

"He believes in passive mankind."

"They thought they were half the world, and the better half, too."

"Is he with Hyde or Frankenstein?"

"That's a shadow-word."

"My worldview sensor just went off."

"What does this say about cats, hats and the world?"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cornflower Quotes

In honor of our youngest daughter turning TEN this month:

"Oh, no. I think I left my head at home... what you see is a hologram."

"I'm like Encyclopedia Brown. I do my best thinking with my eyes closed."

"If we had a kiss detector and shined it on my face, you would see kisses here and here and here and here..."

Love that girl.