Category Archives: Book of Mottoes

“Only a great soul can teach another soul to be great.”

In Charlotte Mason educational circles, we talk a lot about reading great literature, looking at beautiful art, and listening to beautiful music in our search for Truth, Goodness. and Beauty. That’s because Charlotte Mason had a lot to say about it, especially about reading great literature:

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.”     ~ Charlotte Mason

‘It is a sad fact the we are losing our joy in literary form. We are in such haste to be instructed by facts or titillated by theories, that we have no leisure to linger over the mere putting of a thought.”     ~ vol 2 pg 263

“To introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s first course must always be with good books, the best that we can find.

“Ideas must reach us directly from the mind of the thinker, and it is chiefly by means of books they have written that we get into touch with the best minds.”     ~ vol 3 pg 177

“The mind is capable of dealing only with kind of food; it lives, grows, and is nourished upon ideas only; mere information is to it as a meal of sawdust is to the body.”     ~ vol 6 pg 105

“There is no education but self-education.”                                                                                                                          

“We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters…. To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.”                                                                   

“Having found the book which has a message for us, let us not be guilty of the folly of saying we have read it. We might as well say we have breakfasted, as if breakfasting on one day should last us for every day! The book that helps us deserves many readings, for assimilation comes by slow degrees.”     ~ vol. 4, Ourselves

“The only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books…We owe it to every child to put him in communication of great minds that he may get at great ideas.”     ~  vol 6 pg 12

I saw a post from the blog Glory to God for All Things called “Food for the Soul”. I appreciated his thoughts, especially this quote:

“Growing the soul is not at all an obvious thing. Plato, in his Republic, suggested that musical training be required for all children precisely for the formation of the soul. The soul is ever so much more about who we are, and the character of who we are than what we are and what we know. 

As the traditional “canon” of literature continues to come under withering attack in the American academy, more and more people are simply “ignorant” souls. It is not so much that they lack the information gained from such literature (though they do), but that they lack a depth and the ability to reflect that is only made possible through engaging with the greatest ideas, the greatest music, the deepest beauty. Only a great soul can teach another soul to become great.”                                                                                                                    ~  Fr. Stephen Freeman

This is why Charlotte Mason encouraged us to read the best literature – only a great soul can teach another soul to become great.

To read the entire article by Fr. Stephen Freeman, click here. It is excellent and some of the comments have interesting recommendations as well.

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On Self-Pity and Murmuring…

A dear friend of mine called the other day. She was having a really hard day and needed to vent. I had some pent up emotions and energy (read stress) from my latest doctor’s appointment. So, naturally, we let go with all the frustrations. I felt a bit bad when I thought about the conversation. I don’t think that I was very encouraging for her and that is what I would rather be. Later that week, she sent me a screen shot of a quote that really helped me to think of ways I could improve, and I thought I would share it with you all:

“Murmuring can also be noisy enough that it drowns out the various spiritual signals to us, signals which tell us in some cases to quit soaking ourselves indulgently in the hot tubs of self-pity. Murmuring over the weight of our crosses not only takes energy otherwise needed to carry them but might cause another to put down his cross altogether. Besides, brothers and sisters, if we were not carrying so much else, our crosses would be much lighter. The heaviest load we feel is often from the weight of our unkept promises and our unresolved sins, which press down relentlessly upon us. In any genuine surrendering to God, one says, “I will give away all my sins to know Thee.” (Alma 22:18) To whom should we give our sins? Only Jesus is both willing and able to take them!”

~ Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Sally, you’ve got a good brain, too.”

“Sally, you’ve got a good brain, too. Don’t let it go to seed. A brain is only as good as you give it to a chance to be, and just as important to a woman as to a man.” (pg. 55)

This particular book that I am quoting from is called The Mountain Valley War by Louis L’Amour, one of several books about Lance Kilkinney, also known as Trent.

Kilkinney is a good man who wants to settle down, build a place, marry, and have a quiet, happy, productive life in the West. The problem is that he is good with a gun and has a reputation of being a gunfighter. Not because he wanted it or chased it, but because he was blessed with steady nerves, the ability to hit a target, and because he is one of those people who trouble seems to come to, whether or not they want it. He tends to drift from place to place, quietly working and earning money, trying to avoid trouble. In this place, though, he has started a homestead high in the mountain valley and has settled into making something out of his place. He calls himself Trent. He has several other neighbors who all have the same desires he does – to build a satisfying life through their own industry and hard work,

Unfortunately, trouble comes in the form of a large rancher who lives lower down in the valley. He resents these “nesters” and decides he wants their land, whatever it takes. These men are strong and in the right and when his blustering threats don’t scare them off, he turns to hiring gunmen and using force. It is at this point the story opens, and we find Trent coming upon the burned house and dead body of his neighbor. The gunmen did not find the neighbor’s children who escaped to Trent’s home. He takes them under his wing and tries to teach them how to survive in the harsh realities of western life. Woven through out the story in great moments are little gems like these:

“Whenever a brave man dies for what he believes, he wins more than he loses. Maybe not for him, but for men like him who wish to live honestly and decently.”  (pg. 12)

“One could not yield to the lawless and the ruthless, or soon there would be no freedom. It was among men as it was nations.” (pg. 73)

“There are those who use a cause to cover their own lust for destruction and cruelty. He who uses terror as a weapon does it from his own demands for cruelty and not because it succeeds, because it never has.

The killing of a strong man only leaves a place for another strong man, so is an exercise in futility. There is no man so great but that another waits in the wings to fill his shoes, and the attention caused by such acts is never favorable.” (pg. 74)

My sister and I discussed what age it would be suitable for children. We thought that 11-12 would be appropriate.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I receive nothing in return for my opinion.

Mary, Martha, and Me: Seeking the One Thing That Is Needful

Mary, Martha, and Me

photo via Amazon

Mary, Martha, and Me: Seeking the One Thing That Is Needful is a delightfully short motivating read that seeks to remind us that Mary and Martha are people like us in many ways. Sister Olsen teaches us that we should seek the ONE NEEDFUL THING in our lives, and as Mary and Martha so vividly demonstrate, we all find that in different ways…Christ IS the needful thing and He loves us all. When we put Him first, our cares can be put into proper perspective. And that makes all the difference in our daily lives. This quote jumped out at me one night when I was reading this book, and I think it is so profound because we let it slide in so many of our decisions to include just one more thing:

“Simplifying our temporal {physical} environment leads to discovery in the spiritual environment.” 

~ Camille Fronk Olsen

If we truly want to be at peace and happy, we MUST put the One Needful Thing (Jesus Christ) FIRST in our lives, and say no to some things in order to make real room for the best things.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I receive nothing in return for my opinion.