I’ve learned so much from Karen Andreola, and here is one concept that has blessed me for years even though I haven’t always practiced it:
“Mother Culture is living the educational life with our children by learning alongside of them. But it is also learning and contemplating off to the side.”
As Karen says in A Charlotte Mason Companion, it is taking time to refresh ourselves by prayer, rest, reading, conversing, exercising our minds, enjoying some leisure, and taking an occasional field trip. It is not selfishness but the fuel we need to be loving, serene mothers and home educators.
Many years later, I needed a new way of looking at the concept of Mother Culture, and God gave me that this weekend. I was being snappy, touchy, and very, very sad. After almost 47 years of living, I can interpret those signals: I needed some time to rejuvenate. My dear husband generously shooed me out of the kitchen and made the weekly pot of Sunday soup while I sat in a sunny corner and read a book God placed on my path: Be Your Best by Kathy Peel.
In this upbeat book, Kathy encourages us to take the time to know ourselves, to discipline ourselves, and to grow. She encourages us to get out of our ruts, take risks, learn new things, manage stress. She reminds us that not caring for ourselves leads to bad times for all around us. She discusses taking care of our bodies and our minds. And, finally, she points us to God.
Twice she repeats this quote by Alvin Toffler:
Researchers strongly agree on two basic principles: first, that man has limited capacity; and second, that overloading the system leads to serious breakdown of performance.
After several sunny hours of reading and contemplation, my sadness melted away. I had a list of practical tips to implement, a mind full of sunny ideas and positive quotes, and a handful of relevant ways to transform and renew my mind (Rom 12:1,2). Best of all, I had a fresh perspective on how to make my life pleasing to God in the details of everyday life.
And, once again, I can face the new workweek with joy and anticipation, excited to be a wife, a mom, a homeschooler, and a homemaker. To God be the glory. Amen.
For more ideas about Mother Culture, here’s an old Charlotte Mason blog carnival full of tips from homeschooling mothers.