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AmblesideOnline's Patio Chats:
16. Personhood Again


The last thing we said last week was, "Enjoy who your child is today." Your child is a person NOW. He's not someone who is going to be a person someday, he's been a person all along.

Personhood was one of the first things we talked about. It's so foundational to Charlotte Mason's way of thinking, that we're going to look at it again. Your child, like everyone else, is a full fledged person created in the image of God. But what does this mean? How does it affect the way you parent him today?

It means we appreciate and respect him, as we would appreciate and respect anyone else, for who he is right now. He has his own thoughts and ideas, and deserves to be heard and taken seriously. He is no longer your baby, and he may resent being treated like a baby. He is not an annoying problem with a potential to be somebody. He already IS somebody, and you can't know how much future he has. Is he living a full, rich life right now?

Think back to yesterday. Did he come away from his lessons with a feeling of success, even a small feeling of success? Did he feel loved? Did he have something interesting to think about? Did he entertain a new idea? If yesterday was the only day he had, would he have lived a full, rewarding life? He is a full fledged person, and he deserves that much, like anybody else.

On the flip side, we are made in God's image, and God is love. We aren't made to be self-satisfied and to live only for ourselves. We were made to love and serve others. Thinking back again on yesterday, did your child have an opportunity to do a kindness to someone else? To have a designated place to belong in his family or community by fulfilling his duty, even if his only duty was to feed the cat? To express love? Did he feel himself maturing in his ability to control himself? All of these things are just as important to a rewarding life as being on the receiving end of love and interest.

If you looked back to yesterday with a feeling that the day might have been better spent, take heart. Today is a whole new day, and you can determine to make this day a day worth living. And, while you're at it, don't leave yourself out. Have you been sparked by an interesting new idea? Shown or received love? Experienced something beautiful? Strive to make today a day worth living.



A quote from the Charlotte Mason Series, likening a child to a seed that will grow into a plant: "A child is a complete person with all the possibilities within him, present even at this very moment." [from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 2 pg 260]

Cindy Rollins discussed the ins and outs of what personhood means in her Mason Jar podcast at https://www.circeinstitute.org/podcast/mason-jar-what-does-it-mean-children-are-born-persons. It's 39 minutes that will help you wrap your mind around this all-important concept.





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