Chesterton expressed himself as well satisfied that education is entirely confided to women until that time when to educate becomes entirely useless–for, “a child is not sent to school to be instructed until it is too late to teach him anything.”
In other words, education depends on the training given during baby days and early childhood and such training is the concern of women.
That is a certain fact. It is also a serious fact. Because at once there arises the problem: Are all mothers charged with educating their children capable of it?
Some women excel in child-training. And often they are equally successful in handling their children once they are grown.
How solicitously these mothers watch over their children even in their babyhood not only in concern for their bodily good but for their soul as well, warding off from them whatever could be a source of trouble later.
With what love of God they profit by their babies’ first glimmerings of reason to teach them how to fold their hands in prayer and lift their hearts to God.
How zealously they prepare them for their First Holy Communion, speaking to them of the marvels of the Eucharist, encouraging them to generosity and love of Jesus Crucified.
Without any thought of self, but with joyful and supernatural austerity, they teach their children to make sacrifices, to think of others; with what divinely inspired skill they show them the immense needs of the world, make them think of little pagan children who have no Christian mother or father or brothers or sisters who have been baptized.
“Children are serious-minded, and to keep a childlike soul means precisely to continue to look at life with a serious attitude,” says Joergensen.
Mothers with a supernatural spirit, whether they have read Joergensen or not, seem to use this idea as a guiding principle and by it help their children to preserve while growing up, the juvenile depth of their serious outlook on life.
Even when their children are grown, how they help them to develop this serious attitude and protect them from losing it or submerging it in an atmosphere of worldliness and frivolity!
How earnestly they try to give their children true Christianity grounded much more in love than in fear; they do not constantly terrify them with the idea of sin; they lead them even more by example than by word, to look upon God as a God of mercy and not as a sort of “super-parent who is always dissatisfied, severe, angry, ready to forbid and to punish.”
Living a life of divine familiarity themselves, these mothers have learned the great mystery of “God nearby,” of God residing in the depths of the soul in grace, a God whose dearest wish is to draw us into closer intimacy with Himself.
It has been said that “there are two ways of giving the consciences of children an intense sense of the privation of God”; either by default, by never putting them in His presence; or by excess, by putting them in His presence in such a way that He becomes a nightmare to them from which they flee as soon as they realize that the whirl of life helps them not to think of Him.”
Supernatural-minded mothers would never fail in the second way.
If their grown boys and girls remain in the state of grace, it is through a holy pride, an interior joy, the result of having been impregnated early in life with the conviction of God’s nearness, with the determination to remain forever living tabernacles of the Trinity, other Christs.
Honor to these mothers, true educators!
“If you are an excellent homemaker, don’t place your goals of perfection above the needs of your family. Make certain your motives are to comfort them, rather than to please yourself or impress others.” – Helen Andelin