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AmblesideOnline's Patio Chats:
38. Who's in Charge?

Who's in charge at your house during school? Do you have someone in a position of authority over you? Who's in authority over you when you're driving on the road to enforce traffic speeds?

Whether we like it or not, authority is a fact of life, and for every authority figure, there's someone underneath to be in authority over. Is that confusing? Or is it more confusing to try to figure out what this has to do with school?

For any organization or group of people (even your family at home), there is a designated order: someone is in charge, and everyone else is submitted to their authority. There is nowhere in the world you can get away from this fact. Even chickens have a pecking order and dog packs have an alpha dog.

This fact of authority and submission is so important to education (and to life!) that Charlotte Mason made it her third Principle, shortly after "children are born persons." Responsible leading, and dutiful compliance make the world go round.

The sooner your child realizes this and accepts it, the smoother his life will be. If he is under authority, he has to learn to be a good sport about it. If he's the one in authority, he has to learn that he is in a position of trust, and if he abuses the privilege, he can be replaced! Your child should know how to be a good leader, but he should also know how to be a good follower. He can't always be the one in charge.

[Today's patio chat comes from Principle 3]

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