May 16, 2024

Science of Relations

Blue Orchard Bee Resource

Science of Relations

Transcript

A long-standing goal at the Blue Orchard Bee is to improve the accessibility of our resources for all of our listeners and readers. This year will are working toward this goal by republishing some of your favorite episodes with new, fully edited transcripts. Originally from the Spring 2020 series, we're re-releasing this interview with Dr. Carroll Smith with this new and fully-edited transcript. In this interview, Danielle Merritt-Sunseri and Dr. Smith discuss the science of relations.

Disclaimer

The following video is a product of the Blue Orchard Bee and the Charlotte Mason Institute who hold a copyright. You are encouraged to share this file with your friends, family, and colleagues. Do not republish this information in any format, including electronic or digital, without permission from the Charlotte Mason Institute. Ideas suggested in these files do not necessarily reflect the views of the Blue Orchard Bee or the Charlotte Mason Institute. Information provided here is not to be perceived or construed as professional advice in matters of mental health. You are encouraged to work closely with a mental health professional provider that meets your needs.

Intro

This file comes from the Blue Orchard Bee. We ask you to respect the copyright of this file which belongs to the Charlotte Mason Institute, Andra Smith, and Danielle Merritt-Sunseri. The file is for personal use only. You may share with family, friends, and colleagues, but do not publish the material in any format, including in any electronic format such as website, blogs or otherwise, without permission from the Charlotte Mason Institute, Andra Smith, or Danielle Merritt-Sunseri. Please note the views expressed in these files do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charlotte Mason Institute, Andra Smith, or Danielle Merritt-Sunseri. It is important that you remember that information provided on this file is not intended to represent or to be construed or received as professional advice in matters of mental health. You are encouraged to work closely with a licensed mental health provider that fits your needs.

Welcome to the last session of the Blue Orchard Bee for Spring 2020. Today's conversation continues the theme of Mason's foundational pillars of education that cannot be given up even if we have to adapt the methods to meet the needs of neuroatypical children. In this session, Danielle leads a discussion on the science of relations and how this idea is important in how we understand education. Her guest today is again Carroll Smith. Let's listen to the conversation.

Interview

Danielle: Thank you for joining me again today, Carroll, to continue this ongoing conversation that we've been having about what makes Mason so special and so relevant still in our time today. What is so essential about her philosophy? In the preface to Home Ed, Mason refers to personhood as the central thought and the science of relations as her thesis that developed from this central thought. I wanted to talk today about what is the science of relations exactly and what it has to do with our personhood.

"In the preface to Home Ed, Mason refers to personhood as the central thought and the science of relations as her thesis that developed from this central thought."

Taking this thesis and reflecting on it, really owning it has completely changed my understanding of my own education as well as how I see my job as an educator in my home. Before I grasped that holistic meaning of her thesis, which has to include those spiritual and intellectual aspects that we talked about in the science of relations, I thought that the science of relations really had a lot to do with choosing the right books and making sure we were getting in our nature walks and standing aside, practicing masterly in activity, all those methods, kind of things that we talked about. All of those things are good, but the problem was, I think, was that the concept of what the science of relations is to me at that time had me really focused on what I was doing as a teacher.

Those things ended up becoming just another checklist for me. As I really started to reflect on Mason's words, I realized, no, no, Mason said that the science of relations means that the object of education is that the child is in living touch with the life of nature and thought. The science of relations is really focused on the student, not so much the teacher. We do the things that we do to serve the student's relationship. All of those practices, while good, come out of. They result from observing and nurturing that living touch between the child and the life of nature and thought. They don't produce that life themselves.

"The science of relations is really focused on the student, not so much the teacher."

Carroll: So may I add something to that? I think that's perfect because there's another issue here that people confuse. And it happens when you develop a unit. People are trying to help kids see all the connections between various subjects. For example, and this is not necessarily a bad idea, but what they want to do is they want to do a unit on apples and they want to include math because we want to figure out how much apples cost. And then we want to see what's the history of apples. And then we want to see stories about apples and then we want to make a recipe with apples. So they're trying to help kids make all these connections within the concept of apples. That's not what the science of relations is about. You're exactly right. It's about the child's relationship with the world and the nature and the knowledge around them, just as you said.

Danielle: Yes. Thank you. So we have this association then between the life that's in the child that you're just mentioning and the growth of this relationship. And I think that this really revolves around the Trinity and the understanding that we were created to be in perfect relationship. Robert Barron is a favorite evangelist of mine and he expressed this recently. We celebrated the Trinity recently and he expressed the fullness of this relationship when he reminded us that the essence of the Trinity is love given, love received, and life-giving love shared simultaneously, perfect relationship. So, in our context, I think when the student is in relationship with knowledge, that knowledge stimulates an awakening of life within the student. The student gives something of themselves back when they interact with the knowledge through their personhood and then both the individual and the world around them are made better through that life-giving interaction. Can you share some thoughts that you might have about this, about the Trinity and the science of relations?

"We were created to be in perfect relationship."

Carroll: I have a lot to share about that. So, you will need to stop me when I've said enough.

Danielle: We will soak it up.

Carroll: Because I think, and this is, I don't really mention or talk about this as much in the science of relations and some of the things that I've thought about for that. But really behind all of this is the idea of living. What does it mean to live? And so I think the first thing we have to do is to get a handle on the science of relations. And at some point you and I probably need to have a conversation about what exactly does it mean to live?

What does that look like? And how do we understand that? Is living just about doing something good here so I can get to heaven?

"Behind all of this is the idea of living. What does it mean to live?"

Or is living about understanding the world where I live and going out from myself as the Genesis passage indicates where people were to go out along the rivers that went out of the Garden of Eden to discover new things. So it was a, yeah, that's another one that we need to talk about at some point. But in terms of the science of relations, I think we have to go back to Genesis 1, 26 and 27 where the scripture tells us that God created humankind in his image, male and female, he created in his image. And I think these Genesis passages in terms of understanding life and how we should live are crucial throughout the rest of scripture. And I hope to make a point of that a little later on in what I have to say. So the Trinity, let us make man in our image, is a model for us in terms of learning to live life. And in terms of understanding how it is that we go about relating to one another, living in community, as I see it, the way scripture tells us to.

Now I just want to mention two or three authors that people may want to check on. I actually didn't write down the name of their books, but I'll just tell you their names. One of them is Alistair McGrath who talks about this. Jürgen Moltmann talks about this. Stanley Grintz talks about this. Stanley Grintz, I think, has passed away, but they do some extensive study on this topic of the model of the Trinity being a model for us for living life. And one of the keywords that they talk about as they're talking about the model of the Trinity being a model for how we should live is a, and they use a word called perichoresis that helps identify what that means and what they're trying to get at.

Perichoresis is a Greek word used to describe the triune relationship among the persons of the Godhead. It's defined particularly, I think it was McGrath, as co-indwelling, co-inhering, and mutual inner penetration. So McGrath also says that it allows the individuality of the persons to be maintained while insisting that each person shares in the life of the other two. An image often used to express this idea is that of a community, a community of being, in which each person while maintaining its distinctive identity penetrates the others and are penetrated by them.

And near the end of my comments here, I want to give an example of how we do that so that it's just not theoretical. So what I thought it might be interesting to do is just to give a few examples of this inner penetration of relationships from Scripture. And the first one that I thought of is the Matthew passage where Jesus cries out from the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Well, if there was no relationship, there would not have been a cry out from the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Just the fact that that statement Jesus made on the cross is an indication of the depth of their relationship and the inner penetration of one another in terms of building that relationship. So we see that the pain that Jesus is suffering. We also see that his separation from God is done because of our sin. So he is ripping himself apart from his father and his relationship with the father because of us and because of our sin. And I think sometimes it's kind of hard for us to understand the depth of that and the pain of that and the suffering that that caused Jesus as a human and as God suffered for us. And part of that suffering was to be separated from his heavenly father who is also our heavenly father.

"Mason is after us to build those relationships because that's the model that we have to live our lives and to live them well."

So, that's a theological example from Scripture. But what does it look like in our day to day lives? What's an example of this idea of inner penetration of one another and what that feels like? Well, think about a parent dying and what that does to you emotionally, intellectually, sometimes in certain families depending on the situation, what it can do to you financially. I mean, there's just so many levels that when a person dies that it's like they've been ripped out of your life.

And that sense of ripping is extraordinarily painful, but there wouldn't be a ripping if there wasn't an inner penetration of relationship. In other words, if I was just a materialistic being and there was no connections with the person, they would die and on we go. We wouldn't even give it a thought.

It wouldn't mean anything. So it brings us back to the idea of, "oh death, where is thy sting?" Because death has a sting to it. Even now in our beliefs that we will one day be with our loved ones, it still has a sting. It still has a bite to it because it's a ripping apart of our relationship. Think about and you probably had friends to do this. You may have even experienced it yourself, Danielle, I don't know. But think about divorce. Think about the pain and the ripping that goes on in a relationship like that is severed.

The effect that it has on the spouses, the effect that it has on the children, the loss sometimes of place and home and the connections, it just has a huge effect on people when those things are severed. Even in the world of nature, when you are separated, you know, back where I grew up, I don't very often hear people use this term now, but you went back to the home place. Now the home place for me was where my grandparents and great-grandparents had lived and run a farm and the subsequent generations had lived there. So going back to that home place was something we always wanted to do.

Well, when that home place is ripped from you for whatever reason, maybe it had to be sold, maybe it had to be auctioned off. It's just a material stuff, but we still feel a separation, a pull away from it, and particularly if it's a place that we have...so it's really, it's a favorite place or favorite spot on earth that we have, and it really means and it's powerful to us to be able to go there.

For some people it might be the beach, and for them to think that they could never go there again would just be really difficult. So anyway, the point that I want to make is that it has different degrees of of interpenetration depending on the person, depending on the place, depending on the situation, but there is always an interpenetration of one another in these relationships.

"Relationships at some point at some level, like particularly with our children, need to be unconditional."

So, it's extraordinarily important in our lives, and I think in terms of the science of relations, Mason is after us to build those relationships because that's the model that we have to live our lives and to live them well, and she is after us building relationships with one another, with nature, with the world around us.

So, let's see, let me make sure I am following my outline here because you know how terrible I am. So God created us because he loved us, not because he was looking for community or relationship, he already had that, he had that within the Trinity, he had that relationship, so he does not need a relationship with us, but he decided to have a relationship with us, and he created us in his image so that we could build that relationship with him, and it's because he loved us, not because he needed us. So I think that's really crucial to understand that relationships at some point at some level, like particularly with our children, need to be unconditional. It needs to be because of our love for the person or the thing or whatever, because we are story beings, we are made for relationships, and as human beings, we relate best through story, and I think this is why the Bible is full of stories, it's one story after another that tells us the history of God's redemption for us, and so it uses story, it uses poetry, it uses parables, it uses proverbs, it uses letters, it uses all kinds, but what's interesting and what it does not use is analytical philosophy, that's what the Greeks did. God spoke to us through story, and that just makes a world of difference and how we relate to God and how we understand the world around us, because story promotes that relationship, it promotes a knowing, it promotes a being known by as well, and that brings me to the next point that I want to make. If we look at 1 Corinthians 8-3, it says, anyone who loves God is known by him. So it isn't just that we are seeking to know God, God seeks to know us, so again, there's that inner penetration of relationship, and again, this is to me the whole basis of the idea of the science of relations.

"We are made for relationships, and as human beings, we relate best through story."

I just wanted to give a few examples of this inner penetration of relationships and why it's so important, because in my opinion, you can't have commitments, you can't have contracts, you can't have promises without this inner penetration of relationships. I think a lovely and beautiful example of it, and most of us know this, okay, let me back up and say, people my age will know this story using the King James version. Now, I typically don't care to read the King James version, but I thought in this particular one, I had to read the King James version. And I think an absolutely exquisite example of this inner penetration of relationship is a story of Ruth.

Let me read to you from chapter one of the book of Ruth. ‘Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods. Return thou after thy sister-in-law. And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee, for whether thou goest, I will go. And where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou dyest, will I die? And where will I be buried? The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.’

I think I messed up on my reading. But can you see the beauty of the relationship there? How they are interpenetrated of each other to the point that Ruth does not want to leave Naomi. Now, we know the great story as it goes on that actually this Moabite woman was in the lineage of our Redeemer, because she was the grandmother, a great-grandmother of King David. So we, it has a great biblical story to it. But we could see the deep, excuse me, and abiding relationship between Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Their relationship is so intertwined that Ruth cannot leave her mother-in-law.

And I think there's a certain nobleness and a certain beauty and integrity in that relationship. I think another one that I won't go into quite as much is Esther and her people. The idea that for such a time as this, she was willing to put herself in danger, because she was so connected to her people, that she could easily have had her head chopped off, but she was willing to do it. I think David in Psalm 51, where he laments the pain he has caused because of his affair with Bathsheba. It's a pain that has caused him pain, but all, but more importantly, has caused her pain and her husband. And even more importantly, it has severed or caused a problem with his relationship with God. So, that inner penetration of relationships got distorted when David committed that sin. And so again, we can't, we can't, we have to see the power of what relationship does.

Now, I think in, let's see, so I don't get lost here or off. So, we see that developing relationship is done by the way we inner penetrate one another. I think we always have to keep Genesis 1: 26, the whole creation story in mind as we look at different issues in scripture. And one of the things that I often hear people talk about when they want to talk about the rearing of children is the Proverbs 22: 6 passage, ‘train a child in the way he should go and he will not depart.’ Well, for, if you don't view that through the lens of Genesis, then that can merely become a set of rules. And if, if, if you don't follow these rules, you're sinning against your parents, or I'm going to, as a parent have these, this set of rules, we have to be in church every Wednesday, we have been church every Sunday, we have to, you know, all the rules that we set.

We can't do this and we can't do that. And on Sunday, I actually read a story when talking about a family where the boys had to literally sit on a bench on the Sabbath and not do anything. And, and if we think that establishing a set of rules will cause our children not to depart. And if we don't, without an understanding of the Trinity, then I think we missed the mark. And we have children who hate going to church or who hate the Bible, who hate God, because they don't see God as the loving God that he is. I just listened to NT Wright talk about the cross of Christ and how some people almost read John 3:16 as God so hated the world that he gave his son to die for our sins.

"So, I think this whole concept of the science of relations is just paramount, not only in terms of our relationships within our families, but within our communities, within our understanding of the environment, with our understanding of the world around us, with among nations."

Rather than, God so loved the world that he gave his son for our sin. And that really makes you relook at things, because it's about relationship and it's about caring. So, I think this whole concept of the science of relations is just paramount, not only in terms of our relationships within our families, but within our communities, within our understanding of the environment, with our understanding of the world around us, with among nations.

We really have to get a handle on what this actually means. So, I want to talk just for a moment - Before I do that, any questions you have? Is there something I've said that you think is totally missing the mark and you need to say, 'Carroll, bring it back in?'

Danielle: No, no, I think it resonates and it's just beautiful.

Carroll: Okay. So, I think sometimes it's not enough to talk about these great ideas and these grandiose ideas and isn't that wonderful and isn't that beautiful, but how do we do it? And I think again, scripture comes to our rescue and I'll just read again a Proverbs that I think is quite helpful with this. So how is it we build relationships? And in this particular case, how is it we build a relationship with God? Well, if we look at Proverbs 2 verses 1 to 5, we see a whole list of verbs.

That I think are important, but let me read the passage first and then we can go back and look at them. ‘My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.’ I want to laugh here because my computer self-corrected to itching, itching your heart to understanding, inclining your heart to understanding. ‘If you indeed cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.’

So, I think we are given a very clear example in this scripture of how we can have that interpenetrating relationship with God. He tells us, accept my words, treasure my commandments, make your ear incline or attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding. Cry out for insight, raise your voice for understanding. Seek it like silver, search for it, and you will have the understanding or you will understand the fear of the Lord. Now, if you, and this is back to the word living, if you notice all of these verbs, it's something that we do outwardly toward God, not inwardly, but outwardly toward God. And I think it's really important that we understand that, that we seek and we accept and we treasure and we incline and we do these things. That's how we develop that relationship with God.

And what happens when we do? Well, Proverbs 2:6 tells us, for the Lord gives wisdom. From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk blamelessly. Guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of faithful ones. So we see that we have to seek a relationship with God.

We have to accept his words, treasure them, incline our heart toward them, do the things of basically reading the Bible and understanding what Scripture is telling us. So how do we do it then with people? Well, do we not do the same thing? Do we not listen to others? Do we not seek to understand them and to understand their point of view or their context and seek to understand how they are thinking? Do we not do it through research and study of whatever the topic?

"Education is about relationship. It's about developing all of those relationships that we need to develop. It's not about power."

So I think we do it the same way. It's just a different relationship. It's a horizontal relationship among us versus a vertical relationship with our Heavenly Father. So I hope that gives an example of a little bit in terms of how we develop a deep relationship with God and then how we develop a relationship with one another. Now, I think the point that needs to be made then in terms of the science of relations is, and this is a crucial point about education that I think our culture has just totally missed.

And I think even our Christian culture has totally missed. And that is that education is about relationship. It's about developing all of those relationships that we need to develop. It's not about power. Now, if you are well educated, of course, in a society such as ours that's just driven by power, it will give you power because you know stuff. But that's not the goal. The goal is to develop relationship.

And I think if we had a lot more young people who had grown up in nature and had a deep, abiding relationship with their backyard even or nature around them, we wouldn't be struggling trying to save our environment. It would just be expected. It would be the thing that we do as Christians because that's what we're supposed to do.

And that's how we are supposed to live out our lives as living human beings made in the image of God. So, the Greeks, how do I say this? The term love of wisdom is a term that has come out of Greek philosophy. And then particularly, I guess, out of Platonic thinking. So, John Frame refers to it as rational autonomy. In other words, they analyzed life and figured out, well, there's probably something bigger than we are.

We don't know what that something is. And it becomes a very abstract image of God. But if you look at the Hebrew model, the Hebrew model goes something like, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

"Mason...didn't look back at analytical philosophy from the ancients to design her model of education, she looked to scripture. And therefore, she, I love the term that she uses. He puts before us a broad room. He puts before us a feast to enjoy because he created it for us."

In other words, a reverence for, a respect of God, a caring for what he says. Those things become what's important in understanding how to live life. And I think when we just look at it from an analytical perspective, we miss the point. We don't see the value of relationship as the Trinity models for us. And we don't see how not that we are interconnected with the earth in some pantheistic form. That's not what I'm talking about. But we don't have a love for what God has made. And we don't have a love for his creation because we look at it analytically. We don't look at it from a position of relationship, which is what story provides for us.

And that's why I think the scriptures are written as story, as poetry, as letters, as proverbs, and parables, and not as some sort of analytical philosophy that we try to figure out the truth about life. Okay. Does that make sense? That's my two cents worth about the basis for the science of relations and why it is so important. It is the way we should be living our lives.

And I think Mason, because she didn't look back at analytical philosophy from the ancients to design her model of education, she looked to scripture. And therefore, she, I love the term that she uses. He puts before us a broad room. He puts before us a feast to enjoy because he created it for us. We just have happened to mess things up pretty badly. Questions?

"It still seems easier for, I think, a lot of people to consider how a piece of art or a piece of literature can be a friend more so than a thing. How do we develop relationships with things?"

Danielle: Well, maybe an observation. You mentioned this broad room and, you know, thinking about Mason's guidance that we need relations with the ideas of man and the universe of things and with God himself, and she gave us those sort of different areas and said that we were made really for that, that whole scope of those loving, knowledgeable relations. And we build and experience those relations, those relationships with all the uniqueness of our personhood. And those varied relationships, and in essence, I think they bring a knowledge and a spiritual maturity that draw us in time closer to God and bring us closer to that perfect relationship with him. And I know we've talked before, and so I just wanted to bring up and talk a little bit more about this idea that having a relationship with things can sometimes be a little bit difficult to grasp. And you did venture into that a little bit, thinking about nature and how we interact with nature and why it can be so important for us. But it still seems easier for, I think, a lot of people to consider how a piece of art or a piece of literature can be a friend more so than a thing. How do we develop relationships with things?

You know, when I was younger, I really thrived and I came alive in science and math class, and it was almost like a personal insult to hear those kinds of things that people feel like that's less human somehow. And that's something that I've been grateful to Mason for, for giving us these areas and saying that, no, that these relationships with the things are just as important and just as human. And the life that flows from those relationships, I think it's important to keep in mind that they don't come from the object, they're not coming from the thing itself, they're coming from within that person, that that relationship is coming from within the person who is learning about knowledge and searching for truth. Einstein once said, look deep into nature and you'll understand better. And I think that when I as as a lover of science consider a water molecule, for example, it's not just a thing. The design of this molecule is what pulls the blood through our veins and it's what pulls the water into a flower.

"I hope that people maybe can start to think about those relationships with nature and with things in that context...that those are really characters in the story of creation."

It's what allows an insect to cross a pond and protects that pond from seasonal changes and on and on. And it's this thing becomes simultaneously and ironically really a testament to both the awesome complexity and the elegant simplicity of that design. This thing becomes part of a story and knowing that thing is no different from knowing a character in history. That character from the story of nature then draws the person in and is almost calling to the person, 'come see me, find out what's important, find out what's going on around me, find out what the problems are here, how can we fix this together?' So I hope that people maybe can start to think about those relationships with nature and with things in that context that those are really characters in the story of creation.

Carroll: I think, Danielle, what's been so unfortunate is a Platonic view that has infiltrated Christianity and what that view has done has caused people to be concerned about the saving of their soul and the saving of other peoples' soul. That's not a bad thing. Of course we want to do that. But in that pursuit we have disregarded the physical world where we are because we have viewed it as unimportant as Plato did. The world that God created for us, the garden he put us in, is where we need to function. It is our space now and for eternity. Heaven is where earth and heaven come together.

So we have ignored it because of a misunderstanding of about getting to heaven. And I think it's really important that we back up and say no, no, no, no, no. I'm a physical being. I was made a physical being with a body and a spirit and I was put in a physical space and I am to tend that space.

"I was made a physical being with a body and a spirit and I was put in a physical space and I am to tend that space."

I'm not to run about all the time from place to place doing this and doing that. I am to know that space no matter how small it is, even if it's inside of an apartment building, no matter what it is, I need to know that space. But we have so disregarded our physical world and our physical bodies even and just thought about getting to heaven frequently within the Christian community that we have ignored our physical space.

And I think you're exactly right. We need to spend time sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the bird come and go from their nest or watching the flowers open. There are beautiful flowers that open about eight o'clock at night. People don't even know that frequently. There are plants that bloom at night. We should know that. We should know those things and not only should we know them, we should enjoy them.

We should bask in the beauty of them and make them a part of our lives and teach it to our children. So I think our own understanding of life has miscued us in terms of really understanding and knowing and loving the world that God has made for us. We're not infinite. We can't know the whole world. We can't. It's just too much. This is one of the problems that I think with global education and global economy. We're actually, I think, destroying our environment and our air because of it. Because we were made to be local. We're made to know the place around us. What's there? What animals are there? What insects are there? And to enjoy that and to love where we are.

Danielle: Thank you so much for joining us today, Carroll. We'll have to touch base again about some of those other topics that I know we didn't get a chance to talk about this spring.

"If you have a child who is complaining and always having a hard time coping with being outside, it's entirely possible that there are some sensory issues going on with that child."

Carroll: I want to ask you one.

Danielle: Sure.

Carroll: Special needs children. I know that there are issues sometimes for a special needs child who goes out into nature. It's not always as easy as it is with a 'normal' child, whatever that means. It's not always as easy. So we're back to relationship. If we have a relationship with that child, then we need to be monitoring how they are. Can you give an example of what I'm talking about?

Danielle: Yeah. The one that always jumps out at me that I always think about in terms of autism, because that's my world, is sensory issues. If you have a child who is complaining and always having a hard time coping with being outside, it's entirely possible that there are some sensory issues going on with that child.

I have had one kid who for a long time, he just really struggled with being outside and complained constantly. He had light sensitivity. So we had to make some adjustments. We had to think about where do we go on sunny days? We go in the forest so that we're not out in the sun, or we make sure that he's got his sunglasses or things like that. I have some friends who has a child who has some issues with auditory and tactile sensitivity.

He always wears gloves and has some headphones on when we go out. So those are just a couple of examples there. It's kind of a little bit of an art, because you want to encourage the child to experience some of those things and push their boundaries a little bit. Hopefully the OT is helping with those things, but at the same time, if it's producing anxiety in the child, you're damaging the relationship. If you just continue to push and say, no, we're going to do this and we're going to learn how to cope with it and get on with it. So yeah, I think it comes back to that observation.

How is that child responding? We want these relationships, these affections, to be positive. We don't want the child to have all kinds of negative associations with being outside and being in nature and feeling like nature is torturing them. It's going to shoot us in the foot in the long run.

Carroll: Yeah, so, I think it's really important to acknowledge in this whole discussion that sometimes this idea of the science of relations is not the same for everybody.

Danielle: Right

Carroll: It's not going to look the same for every person, and we need to make allowances for that.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah. Also, just as one other example for something very different, I have another friend who has a child with some mobility issues. So there again, we think about where we go. Parks and preserves are generally very happy to help you find an accessible trail. And one of the big things that I think I've heard time and time again for lots of different issues, it's always, always helpful to have those bird feeders outside, you know, your dining room window or whatever. So if all else fails and it's just not going to happen today, let's get to know some birds.

"I think it's really important to acknowledge in this whole discussion that sometimes this idea of the science of relations is not the same for everybody. Right. It's not going to look the same for every person, and we need to make allowances for that."

Carroll: Well, and I think some people would say, no, you don't want to go on a hike on a place where it's been paved. That's not a real hike. You got to get out in nature. Well, we need to be thankful for those places that are paved, because people in wheelchairs can go in those places. And that's a benefit for them. It may seem like all these, what's the phrase that I've heard, sort of these American people who just have to live within their comfort zone, have to have these paved hiking trails. Well, that's not always the reason why they're paved; it provides access for people who otherwise would not be able to get out into nature. So it can be a wonderful thing.

Danielle: Yeah, I was having this thought the other day that I wish that people would give others the benefit of the doubt in those situations. And sometimes it can be hard to even give our own kids the benefit of the doubt sometimes. But I think it's definitely worth practicing for the sake of that relationship.

Well, thank you so much.

"Sometimes it can be hard to even give our own kids the benefit of the doubt sometimes. But I think it's definitely worth practicing for the sake of that relationship."

Carroll: Thank you. I hope we covered some of the pillars of what's really important from Mason, because there are things that have to be adjusted for special needs children. But there are pillars of her philosophy that I think stand the test of time. We just need to remember that applying the philosophy can look differently based on the needs of the children.

Danielle: Great. Thank you so much.

Carroll: Thank you for joining us. I'd like to leave you with these thoughts for your summer contemplation.

We see in scripture a theme of God planting us in a broad place. Psalm 31:7-8 says, 'I will exalt and rejoice in your steadfast love because you have seen my affliction. You have taken heed of my adversaries and have not delivered me into the hand of my enemy. You have set my feet in a broad place.'

Psalm 18:19 says, 'he brought me out into a broad place. He delivered me because he delighted in me.'

Hosea 4:16 says, 'like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn. Can the Lord now feed them like a lamb and a broad pasture?'

This image of a broad pasture or place Mason uses to help us see that a broad feast is our inheritance.

Listen to this quote from Mason. She sums up what a broad place looks like.

'Our aim in education is to give a full life. We began to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Thou hast set my feet in a large room. Shall be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living and not merely a tedious passing of time. Not all doing or all feeling or all thinking. The strain would be too great, but all living. That is to say we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests. We prefer that they should never say that they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not how much does he know when he has finished his education, but how much does he care and about how many orders of things does he care. In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set and therefore how full is the life he has before him.'

I hope you can spend some time during your summer contemplating what does it mean that he has planted our feet in a broad place. Thank you for joining us today. Remember this is the last session for spring 2020, and we will see you again in September. Those of us at the Blue Orchard Bee wish you a restful and safe summer. We hope you get to enjoy some of the wonderful world that God has created for us.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.