let your gentlessness be known, even to your children


Let your gentleness be known to all, mom, even to your children“.

Catherine Levinson

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I could stop the blog there if I was entirely cynical. In respect to character training, I have been the tiger mother. I have no time for unkindness from one child to the next. Will not be tolerated in my home. Nor do I humour disrespect and rudeness to me.

So why not be intolerant of the unkindnesses by being unkind and hard-edged myself? Ha ha ha ha. Definitely not a formula for anything effective, but definitely my instinct.

This is, by far, the most not-exciting, yet blog-worthy discussion point for which I could write.

This is also, by far, the hardest thing I am learning in my four years of this home educating lifestyle…which, of course, didn’t begin four years ago, rather twelve years ago when I had my first child.

A Charlotte Mason advocate, Catherine Levinson, pushed home this very point at the most recent homeschool conference I attended. My ears perked; in fact, I was all ears. Just what I know I needed to hear. But my heart wanted to take a brisk walk out the back doors, cause I knew the next ten minutes were going to propel me into the shamed and guilty stratosphere.

Catherine Levinson also added: “They’ll remember the emotion, but they won’t remember why“. Aiy. Great…guilt-producing, shame-encouraging fodder for thought. They won’t remember why I was mad, ie: cause they were hitting someone, or you fill in the blank. They’ll simply remember my overreaction.

I really didn’t need her to guilt me. I feel guilty every time I know I am being too harsh, forcing home my point, ever so ungraciously.

She concluded by admonishing, “discipline without anger. Create an ‘if, then’ chart that encourages non-emotional parenting“. If my child steps over the line when she does…, then I, as a parent, will do this…

Indeed. If I am honest and expect that that moment of frustration in me, when my child is rude to me, or hitting her brother, or you-fill-in-the-blank, occurs…and it always does…then I’ll be quick to default to creative correction rather than undue force.

My record proves that I am in no way able to preach this message self-righteously. My children have evidence.

Just as I strive to teach my children to be gentle and kind-hearted with one another, I, too, will strive to learn my most important lesson in this lifestyle, to be known for gentleness. Or at least, “mom started to be gentle when I was twelve”.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured“.

Mark Twain