I've been reading Charlotte Mason's Volume 3 on an email list, and we recently read Chapter 4, which has a great passage I can never find when I'm looking for.
The applicable passage is on page 42:
<<We have only room to mention one more point in which all of us, who have the care of young people, would do well to practise a wise 'letting alone.' There are burning questions in the air, seething opinions in men's minds: as to religion, politics, science, literature, art, as regards every kind of social effort, we are all disposed to hold strenuous opinions. The person who has not kept himself in touch with the movement of the thought of the world in all these matters has little cause to pride himself. It is our duty to form opinions carefully, and to hold them tenaciously in so far as the original grounds of our conclusions remain unshaken. But what we have no right to do, is to pass these opinions on to our children. We all know that nothing is easier than to make vehement partisans of young people, in any cause heartily adopted by their elders. But a reaction comes, and the swinging of the pendulum is apt to carry them to a point of thought painfully remote from our own. The mother of the Newmans was a devoted Evangelical, and in their early years passed her opinions over to her sons, ready-made; believing, perhaps, that the line of thought they received from her was what they had come to by their own thinking. But when they are released from the domination of their mother's opinions, one seeks anchorage in the Church of Rome, and another will have no restriction as to his freedom of thought and will, and chooses to shape for himself his own creed or negation of a creed. Perhaps this pious mother would have been saved some anguish if she had given her children the living principles of the Christian faith, which are not matters of opinion, and allowed them to accept her particular practice in their youth without requiring them to take their stand on Evangelical opinions as offering practically the one way of salvation.
In politics, again, let children be fired with patriotism and instructed in the duties of citizenship, but, if they can be kept out of the party strife of an election, well for them. Children are far more likely to embrace the views of their parents, when they are ripe to form opinions, if these have not been forced upon them in early youth when their lack of knowledge and experience makes it impossible for them to form opinions at first hand. Only by masterly inactivity,' 'wise passiveness,' able 'letting alone,' can a child be trained--
"To reverence his conscience as his king.">>
CM's point here is that sometimes we grownups form strong opinions on religious or political matters (other than the essential doctrines of Christianity, which are necessarily few) and then teach them to our children as though they are the only possible acceptable view. When we do this, we stunt their development and make it harder for them to understand the reasoning behind our own conclusions and therefore actually make it more likely that they will radically depart from our own position when they are grown and suddenly see that many other positions also have reasonable bases.
Among Christians, there are some who find force abhorrent and some who find force absolutely holy. Do you understand the position of each group and why they feel their view is right? Do you accept that believing Christians could hold both viewpoints and still be trying to follow scripture faithfully?
Among Christians, there are some who find that observing special religious holidays draws them closer to God and some who find religious holidays unacceptable. Do you understand the position of each group and why they feel their view is right? Do you accept that believing Christians could hold both viewpoints and still be trying to follow scripture faithfully?
Among Christians, there are some who believe that spanking is absolutely necessary and others who believe it is never necessary or acceptable. Do you understand the position of each group and why they feel their view is right? Do you accept that believing Christians could hold both viewpoints and still be trying to follow scripture faithfully?
Among Christians, there are some who believe the earth is quite young and others who believe it is quite old, both groups accepting that it was created by God exactly as spelled out in the Genesis account. Do you understand the position of each group and why they feel their view is right? Do you accept that believing Christians could hold both viewpoints and still be trying to follow scripture faithfully?
(There are other possible positions on each of these issues. This wasn't meant to be a comprehensive list but just to hopefully hit some bugaboo for each of us. <g>)
If your understanding of an opposing position was gained by reading an explanation written by someone who holds *your* position, understand that you probably misunderstand the opposing position.
I'll recommend a book here that can be helpful for looking at multiple sides of these issues: