Am I Convinced?


Yesterday, I designated a specific time for those of us who had just finished reading Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” to view the 1980 BBC version on DVD.  I set aside just enough time for us to watch it before we planned to leave the house for another activity (full disclosure: we were going to the matinee of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”) so I was frustrated when I popped the DVD into our relatively ancient remote-less DVD player and realized that, without remote capabilities, I couldn’t access the subtitles to turn them on.  Okay, I decided, we would wing it without subtitles.  After all, we had just finished reading the play.  We were well aware of what the characters were saying.  Having previously watched this version, however, I knew it would be a challenge for the girls to actually understand the specific words of the characters in the first scene, but, I thought, I don’t have time to waste figuring out how to access subtitles, so….

Unfortunately, all of Shakespeare’s (muttered) descriptive language fell on confused ears so I paused the movie and attempted to locate a modern DVD player that responded to a remote.  Retrieving one from our basement television set-up, I accessed the subtitles and thought that we were set to go–and we still had enough time before we had to leave.  However, we soon discovered that this DVD player was the one that, “doesn’t work”– despite our attempts at fogging up and wiping off the DVD.

Okay, Plan C:  watch “The Tempest” on my laptop’s DVD player.  But, wait, the speakers weren’t loud enough for everyone to hear it.  So…I got the bluetooth speaker paired with my computer.  NOW, with all of the technology propped on a chair in the living room, we started the DVD.  Yes!  We had subtitles!  And sound!  But, we were now running short of time, so we only got to watch half of it….

This whole incident brought to mind a passage in Charlotte Mason’s Home Education that I had just re-read for our Charlotte Mason Readers group:

Impossible! Says an overwrought mother who sees her way to no more for her children than a daily hour or so on the pavements of the neighbouring London squares. Let me repeat, that I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them. (pg. 44)

“Mothers work wonders once they are convinced….”  Convinced.  What does it mean to be convinced?  My Webster’s Dictionary claims that convince means “to cause to believe without doubt.”  So when I am convinced, I believe something without doubt–and, often, I am persuaded to act on this belief.  How do I become convinced?  Merriam-Webster says that I am brought to belief “as by argument.”

Obviously, at some point long ago, I became convinced that watching Shakespeare plays is important and valuable.  I “worked wonders” to facilitate a viewing of “The Tempest,” even though it was slightly inconvenient and somewhat time-consuming.  I didn’t just cave at the first sign of trouble yesterday because I really believe that it is important to watch this play.  In the big scheme of things, my inconvenience was excessively minor, obviously, however, I really could have just walked away at the first hurdle and told myself that it wasn’t worth any trouble at all.  But, I was convinced.

As I have re-read Charlotte Mason’s Home Education, I realize that there are some areas of Charlotte Mason’s educational method about which I must not be convinced– such as spending hours outside each day–and I am not persuaded to act on those aspects even though I intellectually assent to them.  What then must I do to be fully convinced and persuaded?  A couple of things came to mind.

First, as a Christian, I have the Holy Spirit as my Helper.  I can pray for the help of the Holy Spirit in becoming convinced about what specific educational methods to employ in our home.  I can pray for wisdom about how to implement the methods of which I am intellectually convinced.

Second, I can continue to place myself in the path of Charlotte Mason’s “arguments” for her methods.  As I read and re-read Charlotte Mason’s volumes, I expose myself to her well-articulated “proofs.” As I read, I become convinced.  Then, I am persuaded to act when I am convinced.

And speaking of being convinced and persuaded to act…today, I bought a new DVD player.

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