Tuesday, June 20, 2017

L. M. Montgomery on Living Education

I love reading L. M. Montgomery's works. They are just delicious. With any of my favorite authors, I also love, when I am nearing the point of expecting any further enjoyment from them to be in the form of re-reads, to discover a book I have never read. Finding an old green-covered copy of Jane of Lantern Hill at the big city library, next to the familiar Anne books was a treat indeed. Is it really the same Montgomery? Yes, oh yes!

As with nearly all Montgomery's heroines, Jane's domesticity, sympathy and industry inspire me. In this particular work, Jane's relationship with her father is exceptionally lovely, and I appreciated these lines on her summer education under his tutelage. (For context: Jane had grown to hate the Bible because of being forced to read the Old Testament each evening under the critical gaze of her stern grandmother and severe aunt.)
When dad had converted Jane to the Bible, he set about making history and geography come alive for her. She had told him she always found those subjects hard. But soon history no longer seemed a clutter of dates and names in some dim, cold antiquity but became a storied road of time when dad told her old tales of wonder and the pride of kings...Thebes...Babylon...Tyre...Athens...Galilee...were places where real folks lived...folks she knew. And knowing them, it was easy to be interested in everything pertaining to them. Geography, which had once meant merely a map of the world, was just as fascinating.
'Let's go to India,' dad would say...and they went...though Jane would sew buttons on dad's shirts all the way...Soon Jane knew all the fair lands far, far away as she knew Lantern Hill...or so it seemed to her after she had journeyed through them with father.
~ Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
What an inspiration for a living-books based education! But more than that, a reminder that the best things I will teach my children are things that I have learned myself to love and can pass on to them wrapped in the glow of my own delight.

  Views across the Bosphorus, Constantinople by Hermann Corrodi

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