The Dutch Rush

They're Dutch and Life's a Rush

Since most people have not had the pleasure of getting to know Charlotte Mason, I feel it my duty to introduce them.

Sadly, she is long gone. It is up to helpful people like me to read her books, and to then write long, rambling, informative blog posts about her.

If you didn’t already know, Charlotte was a British educator at the turn of the 20th century, who was passionate about introducing children to living ideas. If you’re interested, the book “For the Children’s Sake” is a wonderful  introduction to her ideas and philosophy.

Charlotte was an advocate for children, and cared about what and how they were being taught. I have gained so much from reading her books and implementing her ideas in our school.

I really could go on and on.

Don’t worry, I won’t.

The quote I wanted to share today is not necessarily about education, it has more to do with a new way of thinking. I love it, and refer to it often.

Before you read this, I want to make sure you know I am not offering this from a place of lofty superiority. I struggle almost daily to be the kind of person who can let hurts roll off of me. I love this because it gives me a goal to reach for. It reminds me of who I want to be.

“There is another class of persons in whom pity is strong and ever active; but all their pity is given to one object, and neither sorrow, pain, or any other distress outside of the object has power to move them. And these are the persons who pity themselves. Any cause of pity is sufficient and all-absorbing.

They are sorry for themselves because they have a headache, because they have a toothache, or because they have not golden hair; because they are lovely and unnoticed, or because they are lanky and unlovely; because they have to get up early, or because breakfast is not to their mind; because brother or sister has some pleasure which they have not, or because someone whose notice they crave does not speak to them , or speaking, says ‘make haste’ or ‘sit straight’, or some other form of ‘boo to a goose!’

Such things are not to be borne, and the self-pitiful creature goes about all day with sullen countenance. As he or she grows older you hear of many injuries from friends, much neglect, much want of love, and above all, want of comprehension, because the person who pities himself is never ‘understood’ by others.

Even if he is a tolerably strong person he may become a hypochondriac, with a pain here, and a sensation there, which he will detail to his doctor by the hour. The doctor is sorry for his unhappy patient, and know that he suffers from a worse malady than he himself imagines; but he has not drugs for self-pity, though he may give bottles of colored water and bread pills to humor his patient.

You are inclined to laugh at what seems to be a morbid, that is, diseased, state of mind; but, indeed, the daemon of pity, self-pity, is an insidious foe. Many people, apparently strong and good, have been induced by him to give up their whole lives to brooding over some real or fancied injury. No tenant of the heart has alienated more friend or done more to banish the joys of life.”

OUCH. Right? I see so much of myself there. Thankfully she answers with solution instead of leaving us there to be miserable…

“Our defense is twofold. In the first place, we must never let our minds dwell upon any pain or bodily infirmity; we may be sick and pained in our bodies, but it rests with ourselves to be well and joyous in our minds; and indeed, many great sufferers are the very hearth of their homes, so cheerful and comforting are they.

Still more careful must we be never to go over in our minds for an instant any chance, hasty, or even intended word or look that might offend us. A spot no bigger than a halfpenny may blot out the sun of our friends’ love and kindness, of the whole happiness of life, and shut us up in a cold and gloomy cell of shivering discontent. Never let us reflect upon small annoyances, and we shall be able to bear great ones sweetly. Never let us think over our small pains, and our great pains will be easily endurable.

The other and surer way of guarding ourselves from this evil possession is to think about others. Be quick to discern their pains and sufferings, and be ready to bring help. We cannot be absorbed in thinking of two things at the same time, and if our minds are occupied with others, far and near, at home and abroad, we shall have neither time nor inclination to be sorry for ourselves.”

-Charlotte Mason {Vol. 4 p 89-91}

Should I mention that some weeks I come straight home from church and read that? Because (probably just for me) sometimes it takes great effort and determination to not be hurt by people. Duh. This sounds like crazy woman problem #808.

I struggle to get my mind in the right place, a sort of “take every thought captive” type of thing. It makes me realize that our daughters need us to help them with this. This is a human condition for sure. But in my experience, it begins early for girls as they go through life getting their feelings hurt.

We have to be ready with a new way of thinking.

It will bless our families, and our daughters’ families who are not even here yet. Our husbands will be relieved. Because, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a husband mention “hmm, I wish my wife would get her feelings hurt more often, that would make life so much better”.

So here’s an idea for catching things early in this way of thinking, courtesy of Charlotte:

“But what if from childhood they had been warned, ‘Take care of your thoughts, and the rest will take care of itself; let a thought in, and it will stay; will come again tomorrow and the next day, will make a place for itself in your brain, and will bring many other thoughts like itself. Your business is to look at the thoughts as they come, to keep out the wrong thoughts, and let in the right. See that ye enter not into temptation.'”

-Charlotte Mason {Vol. 2, p. 46}

Just for your enjoyment, here are some beauties from our trip in June…it would be hard to explain how sick we were, and how badly we wanted to go home at that moment. This particular Burgerville had to have you show them your receipt every time you needed into the bathroom…did I mention we were sick? The amount of times I showed that receipt is just ridiculous. This was moments before we began our 12 hour car ride home. It must have been worth it, because we only stopped three times…in 12 hours. TWELVE HOURS.

photo 1

This one wasn’t staged, Joel just kept taking pictures, apparently. We had to make sure our ice cream was still there.

photo 2  I guess this is how I look when I’m telling people to give me my phone back… 3

2 thoughts on “Why Charlotte Rocks

  1. Noble Gill says:

    That was so good! Thank you for sharing that. 🙂 It seems especially fitting on today as we mill about with friends and family. Love you tons!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks Friend 🙂 And milling about is the perfect way to state that! Love you too! Hug my Brother and kiss that baby for me 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: