Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homeschooling's Little Way of Love

On St. Therese of Lisieux, from Wikipedia:

In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts, or great deeds, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote,
Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers, and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love. 

 Therese in July, 1896

St. Therese's "little way" was the pursuit of sainthood through simplicity in an everyday life of love and in doing the will of God in the smallest of tasks.  Hers was a way of gentleness and the belief in the prevalence of the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. How can the homeschooling mother emulate the saint's little way? First of all, by grace, by centering one's life on the love of God and the practice of the Catholic faith. We are models for our children of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, practicing patience and virtue in all things; and when we make mistakes, we make amends. We allow our children to be imperfectly themselves as well, and forgive them, bless them, and comfort them. We have self-discipline, and we model this virtue to our children. We correct them gently, being firm but never harsh, not allowing our anger and frustration to turn into severe and humiliating punishment. 

There was a Montessori teacher by the name of Pen, and when you walked into her classroom, it seemed as though a magic spell had come over the children. Pen's eyes were everywhere, but you would not hear her voice, so soft spoken was she, whispering into the ears of children who worked quietly and with intense concentration. They were not sitting at desks, listening to her droning attempts to cram their minds with facts and figures. She gave lessons to individual children and small groups, while the rest pursued activities of their own choosing, whether on a floor space designated by a rug, at an easel, or sitting at tables in chairs. How did this petite Asian woman exercise such control of her classroom without speaking above a whisper? Her authority was in her demeanor, the look in her eyes, the tone of her low voice. Her quiet grace was contagious. 

Pen is an example of a true artist at work. Are we mothers required to be any less?