The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Impressions of the Conference, May 1901

Volume 12, 1901, pgs. 659-660

As an earnest member of the P.N.E.U., and one who is most anxious to further its aims, it is with pleasure, but with a keen appreciation of the unworthiness of my own powers, that I take up my pen to write a few words on the impressions formed by the Conference held last May.

It is impossible to give a full description of the papers read at the Conference, of which a detailed account will be found in the monthly numbers of the Parents' Review. What struck one most at all the meetings was the earnestness which inspired the writers of the addresses, and their devotion to the cause of true education, which is the sum and substance of our being as a Union.

Of the many valuable papers which were read, those which impressed the writer most were Miss Mason's on "Education is a Life," and Miss Montagu's on "Hero-worship," both of which reached such a high level or moral tone and lofty aim that one could only be thankful for the privilege of being able to listen to such inspired words. The idea, so well brought out by our founder, that each age has its own special revelation and its own message to teach, is one full of thought, and deserves the earnest attention of those who are trying, as we all must do, to bridge over the distance which separates one generation from another. Miss Montagu put in a most earnest and eloquent plea for those high qualities of reverence and admiration, which are so apt to be choked by the growing materialism of the present day.

The lessons given by the ex-students of the House of Education were most instructive, and one longed to have been the recipient of such delightful teaching in the days of one's own youth, as the methods adopted seemed to be the very best for drawing out the powers of observation and attention.

The talks to nurses are always gladly welcomed, as one is so anxious to co-operate with those who are the guardians of our children's early days, and to make them feel that they and we are working towards the same high aim, the training of characters "fit for the Master's service."

The Conversazione, and the Garden Party at Mrs. Winkworth's delightful house, with its historic associations, were amongst the social enjoyments of the week.

But the great practical use of the Conference is the opportunity given to all who are seriously employed in the work of education of meeting together and discussing the many difficulties which present themselves to every thoughtful mother and teacher.

Everyone who is really in earnest has some message to give to his fellow-creatures, and if we all learn from one another what each has to teach, the sum of our knowledge, and, in consequence, our capability to help the little ones, will be immeasurably increased. The spirit which binds us all together in the knowledge that we are trying to be worthy of the highest trust ever bestowed on men and women, is in itself one of the greatest helps possible towards the fulfillment of that trust.

To conclude with the words of one of the greatest teachers the world has ever known:—"Let the children be more holy to you than the present which consists of things and matured men. By means of the child—although with difficulty—by means of the short lever arm of humanity, you set in motion the long one, whose mighty arc you can scarcely define in the height and depth of time . . . Moral development, which is education, as the intellectual is instruction, knows and fears no time nor futurity."—(Jean Paul Friedrich Richter in Levana, or, The Doctrine of Education.)

Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, Mar 2009