One of the most complex and fascinating concepts from Charlotte Mason is, to me, that of the IDEAS. What are they?, how are they presented to the children?, how do we all get in touch with them?, and how do our children and us start making those connections between ideas which will help us build our knowledge of the world, our relationship with it, with its Creator, and with those living in it?
I recall Amy saying she was pleasantly surprised to see how her children remembered things from books they read long ago which they narrated and listened to, they remembered details and events some of which she did not even remembered herself. Those ideas the readings incited sometimes have an everlasting life in children and us too.
I have started to see more and more connections coming from the girls. I am also challenging myself to see them too in their readings and their world, not just in my grown up readings and world where I am always connecting as a habit and a vital way to understand, live, and absorb the good and truth all around me.
We were reading myths and legends, and the truth is that I wasn't very comfortable with the beginning legend of Prometheus and Epimetheus that says they were Titans who lived on the earth before men were created. To this, my oldest replied that nobody lived on earth before Adam was created. I understand some families have their reservations with fairy tales which we don't, not even with the harsh ones such as the original Cinderella. Others don't read or watch anything that has to do with magic... We all have different limits and criteria of which is appropriate or not to read, and who is to say we are wrong or who are we to say we are right? The simple fact is that I felt uncomfortable, so I skipped and continued looking at the rest of the book pondering if to try another legend or to put it away for later since I know in the Ambleside list of books there are some on mythology in the future.
I have a confession to make, I used to think of those who do not read about fairies or magic as illiterate and narrow minded, but I do feel the same about many books. There are words in books that make me uneasy (like "jerk", "oh my goodness", and "oh my g..h" truly make me uncomfortable, I do not think they show reverence and respect). I am not writing to convince you, but I am writing convicted that I do not want them in my home, I do not desire for them to be part of my children nourishment). Same with me. I have, stealing the expression from Heather, camped in the 19th century...and not even all of it :)There are some books I have read that I don't talk about anymore. If you ask me, I won't deny or hide I read them, but I am simply not proud of them. As for others I have and am reading, I try to read, as Lewis says in his Screwtape Letters, for the pleasure of a good reading, not to boast among friends what I read, and show myself very educated. There is much pressure in books to me. Reading is something I value for my daughters and myself, but I need to always stop and consider if we are on the right path, if this is what my Lord wants for me to immerse myself or my daughters in.
It is not that in my house we don't talk about evolution, Darwin, other religions, not at all. * NOTE: this is more among us, not that much the girls yet. Unlike many evolutionists, communists or atheists, I have read Marx, Bertrand Russell, many studies on evolution, and Lord willing, the Origin of Species will be read (maybe just some parts, :), and I believe it is a free kindle book too. At my home it is a matter of all of us being rooted in Him, knowledgeable of His Truth before we even spend time on secondary information and less relevant readings. I do not consider all knowledge to be of the same importance, and we have priorities. We are lucky to be in a country where all of us are free to choose our own order of things.
Although I told the girls these are legends that other cultures invented, their thoughts about how the world and things came to be, I am in no hurry for them to know mythology yet or at all. Once you see them as "fairy tales" too, I admit they are fascinating. I enjoyed them when I was young, but I was much older than my girls, and now I feel the urge to delve in the Scriptures and the biblical accounts and let all this come latter at the right time. But I read the story of Pandora Box, and they were mesmerized. Then I asked who they knew to be as curious as Pandora and did something she or he wasn't supposed to do, and I was thinking about Goldilocks. My four year old said, Curious George. I grinned. My oldest said, tell me. I said, no, you tell me. My four year old said, Sleeping Beauty. I asked sceptically how she was curious, and she said, she entered the room that had the spin wheel...We discussed how one can be curious and do something unknowingly or curious and disobedient as well. Then I remembered Blue Beard and we talked about it. My oldest asked what would he want so many wives and why he did lock them (they truly leave me with no ability to answer), and they finally thought of Goldilocks too. Days later my little one did the opposite, when seeing someone being curious she exclaimed, "curious as Pandora".
And now we are learning about Jacob and Esau. The concept of birthright is difficult to understand. Esau had both the birthright and the prospect of receiving Isaac's blessings as the oldest son. The birthright is the right to be recognized as first born. The blessings were the promises of prosperity which Issac laid on Jacob. They say it doesn't appear Jacob inherited any of Isaac properties, but part of the birthright and blessings it is to inherit the family loom, or a triple part than the other males.
Two stories we read these days touch on that first born concept this time in the Asian culture. In our readings of the Twin Japanese from the twin series, Taro and Take are a boy and girl twins. Their father shows them a Samurai sword that will go to Taro, even though Take is the oldest. Then their father explains how Take will even have to obey Bot'Chan, the baby boy just born. Take doesn't like this at first, but then keeps thinking about the role women have in her society. The other is a book my friend Heather (who else? :) told me to buy at our favorite store sale. I had read it long ago from the library and it had been for sometime in the shelf when my youngest brought it. It is called Tikki Tikki Tembo, and it also touches a bit on the importance of the first born boy in China, and it is also a good legend, with excellent illustrations.
Those were my own musings, about cultures, first born children, boys, our roles, when today, back from the park, my oldest asks, "mom, who was the first baby?" I say, Cain, and we talked about how Adam and Eve were not made babies but adults, and how Eve came from Adam. She told me, "mom, that is because women are less important?" I said, yes, in a way, men are the heads of the homes, they protect us, they are important. But we are important too, most women can and give birth to babies, it is only that we have different roles, but all roles are valued by God. And at this time Brandy's words and the comments on how to teach children about this topic were gravitating as a cloud while I drove. I'm surprised I did not wreck the car at this point. I dared say, "daughter, do you know how babies are born?", and she said NOPE, like this and with the cutest expression I got to see in a flash glance. Little sister wasn't also very interested in getting any advancement on those lessons about the birds and the bees. And that bought mom (and dad) some more time to gather more wisdom and energy for this parenting and raising them in His precepts job our Lord blessed us with.