31 Days of Favorite Quotes: Masterly Inactivity

Sometimes a personal or literary example of an abstract idea can really help us see how it works out practically. I have found Charlotte Mason’s principles of “authority and docility” and her talk about “masterly inactivity” on the part of parent or teacher hard to grasp, but recently came across a couple of examples that really helped me to picture them. Here is part of a description of Miss Mason’s own example of “masterly inactivity” from In Memoriam (the whole section is well worth reading, and is also available free online – around pg 71-72):

She laid down principles and waited for others to think along her lines of thought and find the right solution. She would not deliver those she loved from the growing pains of thinking for themselves […] She thought and acted and she wished others to think too. Her “masterly inactivity” was a thing to wonder at when she could so easily have set things, or thought, going in the way that she thought was right. A word from her, beloved as she was, would have done it; but, no, her work had to be done with the mind and heart of a person who must not be weakened by personal influence if the work was to be done by a mainspring and not a lever.

Tomorrow, a literary example. 🙂

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