Charlotte’s ideas and teachings are such a balanced blend between grand goals and common sense, between high ideals and everyday small things.
The third Do Not is a call to keep your perspective amidst the day-to-day.
Do Not Lose Sight of Great Ideals
Do Not #3:
“Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind.”
Most of us had those “great ideals” when we started—whether it was starting marriage, starting a family, or starting home school. I know I did. And somehow, over the years of everyday-ness, some of those ideals have slipped into a faded memory. It’s not until I sit down and intentionally try to recall those old fancies, that the mental pictures start to appear again—dimly at first, but more clearly as I gaze.
I had great ideals for the atmosphere of my home: what I wanted it to feel like, who I wanted to welcome into it, how I wanted my children to remember it, what I wanted to be in the midst of it.
I had great ideals for the discipline of good habits: what habits I wanted to instill in my children so they would be well equipped for their own homes someday. And what habits I wanted to faithfully continue in my own life, because I knew the lapse of those habits would be a hindrance.
I had great ideals for the “life” in my homeschool: what subjects I wanted to include, what books I wanted to be sure to read, what I wanted each child to become through a personalized education along Charlotte Mason methods.
It’s time to dust off those old mental photographs and revive those great ideals. The everyday-ness has been crowding them a lot lately, and I’ve been finding it too easy to give in to the tyranny of the urgent.
Let’s push back. They are “small things” after all. And often the small things are the building blocks to the high ideals.
So, all together, let’s get our gaze off the small things and lift our eyes once again to what our homes can become, what our habits can accomplish, and what an education of living thought can look like.
Even if that gaze lasts only a couple of minutes today, it’s a start. And if we lift our eyes to those high ideals a couple of minutes every day, that endless succession of small things will not be able to crowd them completely out of sight or out of mind. They will remain a fixed point as the days go rolling by.
Can you see them? Lift up your eyes.
“Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind” (The Story of Charlotte Mason, p. 160).