Monday, January 02, 2012

Winter Clarity

There is something quite beautiful about a clear winters day! The air is crisp and clear - bringing a sense of cleansing to the lungs as well as to the mind. This morning I was drawn outside by the way the sunlight danced among the tree tops, begging me to come out and and enjoy the moment.

With the birth of another new year, it always sets me to pondering. These past few days I have been pondering on the merits of News Years Resolutions.  I am not one for News Years resolutions, it is my experience that often these 'resolutions' are a way of setting oneself up for failure. I wondered why that is. A new year often brings about a feeling of renewal, new opportunities, new ways of doing things, a strong resolve to change things in our lives. We are buoyed by optimism and seem to get an added measure of strength to make the change. Yet most of us have failed in our resolve by the end of the first week of the new year!

'Habit is ten natures.' If that be true, strong as nature is, habit is not only as strong, but tenfold as strong. Here, then, have we a stronger than he, able to overcome this strong man armed -CM Vol 1 pg 105

My mind drifted over to what Charlotte Mason said about 'habits'. 'Habit is ten natures' Our natures, if left to themselves, will form habits that feed what our natures desire. Our habits learned - good or bad - govern our thinking and choice of action, whether we are aware of it or not! I think that this might be the reason for failed resolutions.

Habit runs on the Lines of Nature.––But habit runs on the lines of nature: the cowardly child habitually lies that he may escape blame; the loving child has a hundred endearing habits; the good-natured child has a habit of giving; the selfish child, a habit of keeping. Habit, working thus according to nature, is simply nature in action, growing strong by exercise -CM Vol 1 pg 105

In our hearts we want to change negative and destructive habits and start off with every good intention, but the truth is that we need to be forming NEW habits which will allow us to actually effect those changes. SO... my pondering led to the conclusion that it is not resolutions that I need, but rather to purposefully strive to changing my habits to ones that will assist me in achieving my goals.

Parents and Teachers must lay down Lines of Habit.––All this is nothing new; we have always known that 'use is second nature,' and that 'man is a bundle of habits.' It was not the fact, but the application of the fact, and the physiology of habit, that were new and exceedingly valuable ideas to me, and I hope they may be of some use to the reader. It was new to me, for instance, to perceive that it rests with parents and teachers to lay down lines of habit on which the life of the child may run henceforth with little jolting or miscarriage, and may advance in the right direction with the minimum of effort. -CM Vol 1 pg 107

I don't know about you, but if I were to make a New Years resolution, it wouldn't be just one, I would have a couple of things that I am currently dissatisfied with and want to change those things. Usually, people will try to change all those things at once. BUT, if indeed it is habits than need changing, then we need to do as Miss Mason suggests - one habit at a time! We are to be ever watchful and relentless in our formation of a new habit - never giving in, even when we reach the point that we think we've 'got it'. We are to persevere and continue on until we no longer have to think about our habit, but that we find it now naturally runs along its established course, just as a train runs along it's tracks. Charlotte Mason gives a wonderful example of habit formation in Vol 1 pg 122. You can read it at Ambleside Online.

So for me, a couple of habits that require my attention in 2012 would be:

1. Procrastination - I do battle with this and want to change this bad habit to one of getting things done at the time.
2. Self-discipline - I can allow myself to be distracted and follow endless little rabbit trails. If I need to check emails I often find myself thinking - 'I'll just check 'so and so's blog' before you know it, an hour has past!
3. Endurance - I find that as the term time progresses, I feel less and less motivated in the 'classroom'. I think that I might have stumbled on a solution though - I am going to take my friends advice and re-work our school days to working 4 weeks on, 1 week off. That gives me a short period of time that I can focus on and then time to collect my thoughts and energy levels for the next block of time.

Right now, I am going to seize the day and this sunny morning and take my girls out for a walk!


  1. Happy New Year, I am focusing on new recipes and a more varied menu.

  2. Happy New Year, all the best for 2012!!!

    This year continues our focus on living simply and being grateful for all we have.

  3. Found you on the SCM blog. This is a great post -- thank you!


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