"Of this thing be certain: wouldst thou plant for Eternity, then plant into the deep infinite faculties of man, His Fantasy and Heart. Woulds thou plant for Year and Day, then plant into his shallow superficial faculties, his self-love and arithmetical understanding..."
John Wanamaker was once asked to finance an expedition to recover treasures which had lain for years in sunken frigates off the coast of the Bahamas. "Young man," he replied, "I know of a much better expedition than that right here. At your own feet lie treasures untold, and you can have them all by faithful study."
When learning is a chore, there is something wrong. We are surrounded by so many treasures of knowledge waiting to be mined! Who can possibly be bored in a world like ours??
"Reading furnishes us only with the materials of knowledge," said John Locke; "it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
'In order to get the most out of books, the reader must be a thinker. The mere acquisition of facts is not the acquisition of power. To fill the mind with knowledge that can not be made available is like filling our houses with furniture and bric-a-brac until we have no room to move about.
'If you wish to become intellectually strong, after reading with the closest attention, form this habit: frequently close your book and sit and think, or stand and walk and think--but think, contemplate, reflect. Turn what you have read over and over in your mind.
'Many people have an idea that if they keep reading everlastingly, if they always have a book in their hands at every leisure moment, they will, of necessity, become full-rounded and well-educated.
'But they might just as well expect to become athletes by eating at every opportunity. It is even more necessary to think than to read. Thinking, contemplating, what we have read, is what digestion and assimilation are to food.
'Some of the biggest fools I know are always cramming themselves with knowledge. But they never think. When they get a few minutes' leisure they grab a book and go to reading. In other words, they are always eating intellectually, but never digesting their knowledge or assimilating it.'
By every reader Let Milton's words be borne in mind:
"Who reads Incessantly, and to his reading brings not A spirit and judgment equal or superior... Uncertain and unsettled still remains, Deep versed in books and shallow in himself..."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning says: "We err by reading too much, and out of proportion to what we think. I should be wise, I am persuaded, if I had not read half as much..."
"It is a grand thing to read a good book--it is a grander thing to live a good life."
(From Pushing to the Front by Orisen Swett Marden)
So for all of you who think that I am suggesting you read books all day long, not at all! A big par of educating the heart well is to find that balance--daily feeding your heart, but allowing plenty of time for digestion. Your children need that 'digestion' time, as well. And on the outside, it may appear as play or even doing 'nothing' or having a conversation. Notebooking is part of that digestion process, as well.
We've had quite a few new members join our group recently and we welcome you! I hope you feel that you are among friends. If you are brand new to the Well-Educated Heart, I recommend going through the free Catch the Vision intro course at welleducatedheart.com.
You will notice two unique things about my approach--I focus on tending to mothers' hearts because I believe it is out of the abundance of a mother's heart that our children are blessed. "Only the warm heart can kindle warmth in another." And secondly, while traditional schooling and curriculum focuses on those things that are seen, my priority is with those things that are unseen--love, joy, kindness, all the riches of the heart.
If you are looking to fill your own heart in order to bless those around you and you understand the value of those things which are 'unseen,' you have come to the right place.
I have so appreciated the comments made in reference to my thoughts on the different artist depictions of Jesus. Our response to them is a very personal thing, and what speaks to the heart of one of us may not speak the same thing to another. We are individuals!
But no matter what your preference--modern or renderings of long ago--I think we all can feel the message of this poem I recently copied in my poetry book.
My Master's Face
No pictured likeness of my Lord have I; He carved no record of His ministry On wood or stone. He left no sculptured tomb nor parchment dim, But trusted for all memory of Him Men's hearts alone.
Who sees the face but sees in part; who reads The spirit which it hides, sees all; he needs No more. Thy grace-- Thy life in my life, Lord, give Thou to me; And then, in truth, I may forever see My Master's face!