This quote rankles me. In a world where so many entities clamor for a piece of our child’s soul — factories, companies, clubs, sports, schools, churches, advertisers — I do not wish to regard our children as belonging to anyone but themselves. Paul and I hide them from all of these hooks and grabs and picks that want to use our daughters for their own ends.
But Charlotte does not say that children are a public trust. They are not. She says parents should regard them as such. We are often shoddy with our own work and perfectionist when working for someone else. I’ll be punctual for a work meeting and slack on attending church on time. I’ll keep my work desk clean and allow my home to become messy. We are more professional when working for someone else, bottom-line. If we consider our parenting as a professional endeavor and the raising of our children as a product that will be evaluated, we may take our jobs seriously and do for our children better than if we considered them our own. Sad, but true.
I remember when I had Elsa, I actually wrote out a job description (in the form of a mission statement), and decided to “clock-in” hours. Too often, we stay-at-home mothers are tempted to do less by our children because so much of our society does the same thing. We have the sole direction of the children’s early, most impressible years, yet parents are encouraged to give these years over to strangers for the making of our children. Children inhale their environment and it becomes a part of them. The first five years of a child’s life may be the most important learning curve in their lives. Those years lay the foundation for all else.
Regarding our children as a gift to be given to the world may help our minds to battle against societal pressure to undervalue them. It will place children in their rightful place. They deserve a thinking love. We owe our children a careful training, a thoughtful upbringing, a loving, firm path.
Today’s model for child upbringing is a terrible cycle: ignore them until they demand attention in a negative way, be dismayed that they would act in such a way, feel guilty for ignoring them and placate their negativity with some sort of quasi-reward, and as soon as they are happy, ignore them once again.
The mother is qualified and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; … and what is demanded of her is — a thinking love. … God has given to thy child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided — how shall this heart, this head, these hands, be employed? to whose service shall they be dedicated? A question the answer to which involves a futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education. Pestalozzi
We owe our children and the world a thinking love. They need our attention, our focus, and all of our experience to guide them. We do not realize that every happy hour, every peaceful meal, every restful nap, is actually the very education our world needs so badly. We underestimate the gifts we bestow in a well-managed, loving home. We undervalue the brain growth that occurs from hugs, kisses, interaction at meals, good food, cleanliness, order, daily and weekly routines. We hinder our children from obtaining an education when we ignore them and leave them to themselves too much. They require a thinking love.