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Investing Time in Things that Are Good

Investing Time in Things that Are Good

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

This is one of my favourite passages in scripture. It has shaped my parenting and our homeschool in profound ways. I use this scripture as a litmus test as to what resources I use, which books I read, the places we visit, and the things we watch. I do this to make the end goal more achievable: to think on these things. We cannot think on things that are not permeating our being. We cannot be expected to dwell on the noble, if we have no notion of nobility. In modern culture how can we expect a child to recognise virtue, and value it, unless there is a model of virtue to aspire to.

I believe this is true for moral virtues, but also the ascetic. A soul gazing on beauty will be richer for it. If we are exposed to the awe-inspiring richness of creation we are more inclined to worship the awesome God of creation.

How to Invest in Good on a Tight Budget?

It is all very well and good having lofty thoughts and great ideals, but such aspirations can be expensive. To take a large family to classical concert, a ballet or art exhibition can be very expensive. How to feast on the best affordably?

Nature

I choose wisely where to spend the budget. I want to take the children to places of outstanding natural beauty, therefore I invest in the diesel to take us there. So when we go on one of our adventures in the wild I pack a picnic so we do not need to stop and buy food, and I make sure we have enough snacks and drinks for the journey home. It also means I choose not to spend money on more expensive family pastimes.

These times of exploring natural beauty store up a treasure of beautiful memories. It reminds me of William Wordsworth’s famous poem The Daffodils:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By intentionally filling our mind with natural wonder we can draw on these memories at other times.

Art and Literature

Art galleries are often free to visit, although special exhibitions are often expensive. I have found children have a preconceived notion of what to expect when it comes to art galleries, and this is often negative. The last major exhibition we visited my boys expected to be bored before entering. And for the first three quarters they showed themselves bored. This trip was meant to be my birthday treat. They were ruining it! I tried to encourage them to look at the beautiful Monets and Van Goughs. I found that against their wills they found themselves becoming interested. Before they left they were in fact enjoying the exhibition.

If exhibitions will not work, one way to encourage a love of art is to have books with paintings in the house. We have one of the Come Look With Me books, I also have a book with the Pre-Raphaelites that my daughter particularly enjoys to look through.

When I choose literature I have a few go to sources of inspiration. The Charlotte Mason sites: Ambleside Online And Higher Up and Further In are both excellent. I also use the Storyformed Website, started by Sarah Clarkson. Her book Read For the Heart has been an invaluable resource for me.

Many excellent books are available free on Kindle, or can be picked up second hand online. The Classics are often easily bought at charity shops or can be found in libraries. We live at a time where high quality literature is readily accessible to all.

I make literature and books a priority in our days. I have times of reading aloud in our working day, I also have our bed time stories. The aim in this is that young hearts and minds will associate books with the receiving of love. Whilst having their minds and souls enriched by great stories; and profound, important ideas.

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