Respecting Personhood...Does Not Mean Letting Children Do What They Want and Avoid What They Don't

Children are born persons. ⁣

Born is the operative verb in this revolutionary and foundational principle of Charlotte Mason’s. ⁣

Children are BORN persons. ⁣

We know from Mason’s explanation of this principle that she is illuminating a physical and spiritual reality. ⁣

Children enter the world possessing personhood, drawing our attention to what is universal about every occurrence of this experience. ⁣

Children are each unique and distinct, yes, and that is certainly an implication of personhood.⁣

But what Mason is building her philosophy upon isn’t the unique nature of each child, but rather what is universally possessed by every person because of their personhood itself. ⁣

Because of the Imago Dei, every person is universally alike in significant ways.⁣

These universal possessions are: ⁣

*A Mind of One’s Own⁣
*A Mind Nourished by Ideas ⁣
*The Power of Reason⁣
*Will ⁣
*Capacity for Beauty⁣
*Body, Mind, and Soul⁣
*Emotion ⁣
*Conscience ⁣

It is because of the universal nature of personhood, not its uniqueness, that we know that to respect persons is to refuse to manipulate them, malnourish them, or mismanage their training.⁣

Personhood is endowed, but it develops as it matures. ⁣

And this maturing requires the nourishment of the mind and the training of the will and conscience. ⁣

We can not respect persons by giving into their whims. ⁣

Personhood’s universal qualities take on a plethora of many forms, and we should indeed be students of the persons in front of us. ⁣

We should intentionally and personally craft the education best suited to the individuals given to our charge, to the best of our ability. ⁣

But we shouldn’t forget that “individual” and “person” are not interchangeable.⁣

People are both.⁣

And all persons, no matter their individuality, are in need of the nourishment of ideas found in Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. ⁣

We’ve no right to allow them to self-limit out of their own ignorance or immaturity. ⁣

Respect of personhood requires us to require them to do hard things. ⁣

We adapt and accommodate in wisdom.⁣

We don’t acquiesce to the desire to avoid difficulty.

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