Today, my 12 year old son gave me a narration of a portion of Charlotte Mason’s Ourselves, entitled, “Esquires of the Body: Restlessness and Rest” (Part 1, chapter 3). The concepts are very simple, but incredibly profound considering many of our society’s problems today. She often gets ideas right on target for today in spite writing 100 years ago! In the Charlotte Mason realm, we often say she was ahead of her time. It always impresses me to see the truth in this.
Below, I have shared with you the ‘Restlessness’ portion of my son’s narration.
Restlessness is one of the most helpful esquires of the body. It doesn’t want you to sit around and do nothing for too long. Even babies have lots of restlessness. If you see them awake, they never want to lie still. They are always flopping their arms around and making noises. So, restlessness keeps us healthy and it is good not to sit around for too long. It is not that we should never sit around, we just shouldn’t be spending our whole day resisting restlessness.
(12 year old son’s note: Sometimes when I am downstairs playing video games, I get all fidgety and actually can’t stand to sit down anymore. Mom’s note: After playing video games, his body goes berserk and we need to make sure he has a healthy outlet for his restlessness!)
Restlessness can sometimes be a hard master. You shouldn’t overdo your activities because sometimes you will start to not be able to stay doing one thing at a time and will always have to be doing something different. Basically, people just give in entirely to restlessness and can’t concentrate.
While he was narrating to me, I was in awe of the timeliness of Charlotte’s words. What happens when we have a bunch of children who have given in entirely to restlessness, through continual exposure to entertainment, combined with expectations of constantly resisting restlessness by sitting at desks for hours at a time? We get a nation of children who must be drugged to keep them inactive. What happens when children continually resist or are forced to resist the natural restlessness in their bodies (combined of course with modern ‘food’ — and I use the term loosely here)? Childhood obesity.
Charlotte Mason is my hero.