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Charlotte Mason's Students Motto

"I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will."

I am . . . a child of God, a gift to my parents and my country. I'm a person of great value because God made me.

I can . . . do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God has made me able to do everything required of me.

I ought . . . to do my duty to obey God, to submit to my parents and everyone in authority over me, to be of service to others, and to keep myself healthy with proper food and rest so my body is ready to serve.

I will . . . resolve to keep a watch over my thoughts and choose what's right even if it's not what I want.


Charlotte Mason wrote a little more about the motto in volume 1, which I've re-worded here:
I am, I ought, I can, I will. These are like four steps of the ladder that St. Augustine wrote about when he said we could 'go up on the stepping stones of the old, sinful man we cast off and are dead to, and ascend to higher things.' I am means that we can know ourselves and understand what we're really like. I ought means that we have a moral judge inside us. We feel like we're subject to it. It lets us know what our duty is and compels us to do it. I can means that we know we have the ability to do what we know we're supposed to. I will means that we resolve to use the ability we know we have to do what our inner moral judge has urged us to do. Resolve is the first step in actually doing. These four make a perfect, beautiful chain . . .  (You can read Charlotte Mason's exact wording on page 330 of volume 1.)


"I am, I can, I ought, I will." This was the motto she gave us. I am a human being, one of God's children; I can do right by my fellowmen and by myself; I ought so to do and God help me, I will so do. Is this not a great message she has given us?
(Michael A. E. Franklin, one of Charlotte Mason's students; from
In Memoriam)


"I am, I can, I ought, I will." Miss Mason chose your inspiring motto.  You can say,
      "I am the greatest thing in God's creation: a human being with a spark of God's divine spirit in my body.  Because I belong to the human family I can do the great things that other human beings have done. I have powers of doing, thinking and loving.
      "I can use these powers. I can change my thoughts from things that harm me and that worry me to the beautiful things I have learnt in my School: I can know the ways of activity, I can think kindly thoughts of God's creatures in the past and in the present, in this and other countries, of people who do not think as I do in religion and politics.
      I ought to do these things: I owe it to my God, my parents and my School.
      I will forget myself, and live up to the ideals of my School.
      God is on the side of those who will, and with His help we will all go on working as Miss Mason hoped we would.
(By the Hon. Mrs. Franklin, from In Memoriam)





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