We Live by Knowledge

Next, we perceive that knowledge and the mind of man are to each other as are air and the lungs. The mind lives by knowledge; stagnates, faints, perishes, deprived of this necessary atmosphere.

A Philosophy of Education, 324.

Charlotte Mason speaks about knowledge in a personal way. It is not mere information; nor is it to be confused with learning. It is conveyed by Spirit to minds prepared to receive it. It is mysterious, but it is the way one grows and becomes more of a person. Growth is what God intends for us. Yet, growth does not occur if mind does not encounter, and receive, knowledge.

Some weeks past, I was reading with fourth graders about description. Working through a paragraph by George Eliot, we came across the phrase happy irregularity, describing the growth of lichen on a brick wall. Eliot personified what she saw and these young readers received knowledge of lichen, description, and the beauty (and proper use) of language.

This encounter conveyed meaning to the students and was added to their lives in the form of knowledge. What do they have to show for the time spent with this paragraph, for their minds encounter with knowledge? They give attention to words, to meaning, to lichen. They have become more of what it means to be a person; they have grown.