Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Mind of a Child & His Will

No sooner doth the truth...come into the soul's sight, 
but the soul knows her to be her first and old acquaintance.*

I have been trying to finish up reading Volume 6. I am so close, but at the same time wanted to go back through and re-read things I have highlighted in order to start preparing a little for the Texas Hill Country Retreat coming up at the end of the month.

So here are just some reflections from “A Philosophy of Education” (volume 6, Chapter II, pp33-44)

He has a will of his own.
He is strong-willed.

Do you have a child like I do that falls into this category?
Would you say this child’s will is difficult to deal with at times?
What is will?
When you think about it more reflectively, is will that the child is opinionated, or stubborn, or just wants his own way?
Or would you say that actually the will is very weak because of the refusal to make oneself do what one ought?

It is when the little boy is able to stop all these and restrain himself with quivering lip that his will comes into play; for he has a conscience too.
No one can make a child obey unless he wills to do so.
Vol 6, p37

I think when we say “he has a will of his own” or “he is strong-willed”, what we actually are referring to is that the child does not submit to obedience easily.

So are will and obedience different?
One can be forced to obey by use of threats or strength of the commander.
However, once left to their own devices, many previously “obedient” children rebel as a result of their freedom to choose for themselves.

Will comes into play when we find ourselves faced with a choice of doing right or wrong. It is a fight within us at times (between flesh and right behavior), but as we choose the right, however difficult it may be, we are willing. As we will to do right more and more often, it tends to become easier, don't you think? 

And when we realize that we are under the authority of the Almighty, as we grow in our faith, this is where tests of obedience present themselves and our will is the chief responder.

I am thinking about all this in light of a surprise “attack” by my 3-year-old today. Our children are in the "training program" to become obedient Jesus-followers. Today’s incident was a teachable moment for the littlest soldier. He learned a lesson, a stern reminder and chiding of what is acceptable and what is not. 

The consequence of truth is great; therefore the judgment of it must not be negligent.

As I lead and teach my little ones, I pray that as I strive to instruct them in the way of the Lord, 
by degrees as he is trained, his will comes to his aid and he learns to order his life.
 Vol 6, p44


  1. Kristyn,
    I don't have one - but 2 (!) strong-willed children. The oldest one is my firstborn daughter, who is now 28, married, and has 2 daughters of her own. And wow, did she give me a run for my money when she was little, especially after having our firstborn son, who was compliant, and as my hubby described it, on "auto pilot". But we were diligent with our discipline and training of her and she has become the most determined person I know. She has been through many trials - and she didn't give up. And I think it's partly because of her strong will that she did persevere. The Lord used her strong-willed personality to her advantage and His glory. :)
    My other strong-willed child is my 14-yr-old son. He is middle child of our seven (on earth) children. After a trying toddler-hood, he is showing himself to be just as his older sister is..still strong-willed, but in a good way - for the Lord!
    So hang in there! Keep on keeping on, and the Lord will reward your efforts! :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa :-)
      I know my littlest can (and will) do BIG things with that big personality. And leaning on the Lord for wisdom in how to direct him is the key.