Ourselves Vol 4 Notes Intro and Chapter 1

Welcome to our study of Vol. 4 entitled "Ourselves" by Charlotte Mason which is covers the understanding of the struggles of young people as they enter into their years of youth and the tremendous years of growth in body and mind. Charlotte searched many places to find a book that would address children's difficulties and struggles with these growth times, and the solutions when faced with those struggles. Unfortunately, there was no book available to cover this so Charlotte Mason decided that she would write one. This is what we find outlined and beautifully explained in Volume Four. 
Here is what Miss Mason wrote in the Introduction, "As I do not know of book to recommend to parents which should help their children conduct life in matters such as I have indicated, which are neither precisely ethical nor religious, I venture to offer an outline of the sort of teaching I have in view in the form in which it might be given to intelligent children and young people of any any age, from eight or nine years old."
Charlotte Mason then moves on to describe in Chapter 1 the fair country of Mansoul. Mansoul is the name she coined and uses throughout the volume to describe the soul of all human-kind, individually and as a group. She writes, "Of all the fair lands which God has made, there is no country more fair that the Kingdom of Mansoul." Chapter 1 is just a few pages, but gives an overview of the Kingdom. There are Rivers and Cities, Books and Playgrounds, and Churches and Delectable Mountains in the kingdom of Mansoul. 
"The soul of man is vast and there is plenty of fertile ground to grow a loving and holy heart. The ways to grow Mansoul is to look at beautiful pictures painted by the great artists of all countries statues of heroes, and organs of noble tone and all matter of musical instruments. To these great musicians come and play wonderful things that they have made; the people of Mansoul listen, and great thoughts swell in them and everyone feels as if he could get up and be a hero." 
Charlotte also mentions that the growth of Mansoul is encouraged and strengthened by great books, "when anybody sits down to read, the author who made the book comes and leans over his shoulder and talks to him." But the best treasure of all the country are kept in the fairest of its buildings, in its churches, which are always open so the people can talk with God and He comes to speak to them." God speaks in the heart of all human-kind's soul and God is always there in the ears of man always wanting to talk with him (her) and a growth in this area for youth is to take time often each day to speak and listen to God. 
And lastly, there is plenty of fertile ground in Mansoul, much room for growth throughout all the kingdom. The limitations of mansoul's growth is up to the person who has the ultimate final word of his growth through the exercise of his free will. Charlotte hopes that in studying this Volume with your children through weekly talks (she suggests Sunday afternoons or evenings) that parents and children will be encouraged and their resistance to the outside world will diminish and their wills will be strengthened.

Chapter 2 will be covered next month as we read about the perils of Mansoul. Happy Reading!