Again I am back sorting through my filing cabinet, and have re-found an absolute TREASURE!! I have read this article so many times over the decades, and chatted with many about it, trying to get clearer ideas on what she talks about. I think I will be wondering about it till I am an old lady.
The author, Adeline, Duchess of Bedford, begins the article by saying that at some point everyone completes their education as a student and then starts on a life-long process of applying bits and pieces of what's been learnt into working and living life itself. Not all areas of study contribute to equip us for life. But in this article, the Duchess gives 4 "marks" she believes must be evident in us, to be ready to handle life.
Here is a collection of my thoughts that I have written down over the years about the 4 "marks" mentioned in this article ~
1. HISTORIC SENSE -
* This is not about learning facts about history - "..facts left to themselves are dumb."
* We need to have a vivid feeling of history, by drawing attention to historic happenings in our own family as well as in life in the world beyond us. We need to regularly chat about what is going on around us.
* We must apply history to ourselves. This is found through close examination of how people were affected both immediately and long-term (how they did what they did..), their behaviour or nature in the event. It requires us to wonder about it, live in it so we can apply it to ourselves. Youtube, BBC and Al Jazerra documentaries are helpful resources, giving deep impressions of people living now and historically.
2. ARTISTIC THOROUGHNESS -
* Artistic thoroughness is not about being a great musician, artist, crafts person... Rather it "can be detected in many things which have no apparent connection with" skills or talent.
* It is about doing all things artistically - the style of clothes we wear, our handwriting, how the table or tray is set, the arrangement of food on a plate, the way we drive or park the car...
* It is a type of neatness, enhancement, enrichment that we can bring to ordinary tasks. And this affects others around us - a badly parked car affects another trying to park their car behind us, the artistically set table gives a welcome and communicates care to the exhausted home-comers, the stylish dresser brings a smile or gives artistic ideas to an on-looker....
3. A SENSE OF PROPORTION -
* The third "mark" is "a more important characteristic, inasmuch as the presence or absence of it affects larger issues."
* Today there is a constant deluge of information and stuff from all spheres of life, which comes at us so fast, that there is insufficient time to fully consider or discern the worth of things. This produces "an intellectual confusion..."
* Our minds are always strained, we can not keep up and believe we are constantly 'behind'.
* To cope with the endless flow, we often choose to make decisions quickly, rather than thoroughly sifting the idea to see if it is of value. Our sense of proportion not only guides how we make decisions, but also forms our judgements and opinions on everything in life.
* Advertising can be a part of this confusion, often misleading and tantalising, reducing the ability to properly weigh things up before making a decision.
* Having "a delicate power of discarding the crude and useless elements of a subject and fastening on its real issues is a sign of true education" and having a sense of proportion.
4. SYMPATHY -
* Sympathy is wrongly thought of as simply an emotion.
* The meaning the Duchess has in mind, is a "sympathy with varying temperaments and opposite convictions to our own." She is not asking that we take on many opposing views so that we have such a breadth of opinion that we loose any conviction.
* This point asks that we become broadminded, large-hearted and have just judgement on matters because we have spent time thinking from another's perspective.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ Last week when I read these points again, having read them so many times before, I was again convinced of their truth. I hope you too find some "treasure" here that you want to put into place in your family.