Do you know about Mother Culture? This transformative concept came from A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola which I read when I was a young homeschooling mom with 5 little people. I believe you would do best to read her description here and even order her $5 talk, as I am about to.
At its heart, Mother Culture can be summed up in this quote that Karen attributes to Billy Graham:
“Mothers should cultivate their souls so that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.”
I did mention how *not* to do this when I wrote about What Me Time Isn’t. It isn’t pursuing pleasure for its own sake. It isn’t vain. It isn’t selfish.
What I have retained about Mother Culture from A Charlotte Mason Companion is that at its center are books: a stiff book, a moderate book, a novel, and your Bible. I have read many other articles on Mother Culture and none have included the Bible! But it is, of course, integral to the cultivation of our souls and the souls of our children.
I read a nice article yesterday that had some quick pointers on when and how to start reading if you aren’t currently in the habit (I myself went about 10 years without reading a full adult level book). I am excited to get back into the habit as I feel like my brain has sadly atrophied over the years. Last night, Bill and I chatted about this concept and he was also interested in trying the 3 books plus Bible reading. He was looking for a novel so I suggested The Deliverance of Sister Cecilia. I was looking for a moderate book until I realized my novel was a moderate book.
Now that I am older (43), I am not as sleepy as I was in my childhood (up to about 39) which has allowed me to get up before the kids by just enough time to read the daily Bible readings and a companion book, In Conversation with God by Fr. Francis Fernandez, before the kids are ready to say more than “Good Morning.” My son loaned me his old Missal for this purpose. My husband reads the same readings from his daily email from the USCCB. We now sit in companionable silence in the mornings, the same way my parents have since I was young!
My stiff book is “Crito”by Plato. It is gathering dust, but it sits on my bedside table with the questions for discussion from my daughter’s 10th grade history class tucked inside, waiting for the day I’m again ready to read about Socrates’ views on injustice.
My moderate book is Kristin Lavransdatter by Nobel Laureate Sigrid Undset. This trilogy about a young woman in 14th century Norway has captured me both with the storyline and the spiritual insights.
My light book is What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. Since it is a collection of newspaper articles written by Gladwell with his unique point of view and considering topics like “What the Inventor of the Birth Control Pill Didn’t Know About Women’s Health” or “Should a Charge of Plagiarism Ruin Your Life?”, it has been easy to pick up for a quick read. I don’t always agree with him, and that makes me think which is good.
We most of us have a stack of books at our bedside, but how many are at the same level, twaddle, or redundant? Mother Culture is an orderly way to approach reading which seeks to help us sanctify ourselves and grow. To me, that is the heart of “me-time”.