I am what some might call a book hoarder. 😛
I love books. I hlove the feel of their pages; the sound of them turning. I love the smell of books. Especially old ones.
They are a part of me. A part of my family. And there is always room for more of my babies.
But then my husband, the other day, suggested we consider purging some of them. And then there was this quote I read that spoke to “getting rid of books”. ~gasp~
In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing author Marie Kondo, says that we should get rid of everything that does not “spark joy in our hearts.”
Books DO spark joy in my heart though. Like little else does.
I have been wanting to purge our house – go minimalist – for some time now. So I guess, my husband bringing it up, perhaps this was a sign that it was time. And perhaps it was time for me to give a bit too. So I did what was recommended. I took every single book off of the shelves, out of the drawers and out from under the tables and chairs. Slowly I went through each one deciding what to keep and what pass on. Since we are home educators too, my other thought was for my kids; for our journey.
Did it spark joy in my heart? Was it perhaps, educational for my children or would it maybe, one day, spark joy or relief in their hearts?
This was hard. I admit it. Seeing space open up on the shelves, my natural desire is to fill those holes. But then looking at the boxes that are filling up; seeing so many books that none of us had a passion for. My children bringing me books (I was surprised at some of them that they chose to let go of too!) I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders.
There is power in the tongue. There is power in the pen. As we move forward, as a family, as a homeschool, as individuals – We must be careful what we allow eyes to see. We must be wise in how we spend our time. Even in literature, there is so much out there that no good can truly come from. Charlotte Mason calls it twaddle.
If you are not familiar with this term, let me share some of what I feel, are the best definitions:
“. . . the sort of diluted twaddle which is commonly thrust upon children” (Vol. 1, p. 176).
“They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told” (Vol. 2, p. 263).
- Second-rate, stale, predictable
“It is not possible to repeat this too often or too emphatically, for perhaps we err more in this respect than any other in bringing up children. We feed them upon the white ashes out of which the last spark of the fire of original thought has long since died. We give them second-rate story books, with stale phrases, stale situations, shreds of other people’s thoughts, stalest of stale sentiments. They complain that they know how the story will end! But that is not all; they know how every dreary page will unwind itself” (Vol. 3, p. 121).
- Goody-goody story books or highly-spiced adventures of poor quality, titillating
“What manner of book will find its way with upheaving effect into the mind of an intelligent boy or girl? We need not ask what the girl or boy likes. She very often likes the twaddle of goody-goody story books, he likes condiments, highly-spiced tales of adventure. We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature” (Vol. 3, p. 168).
- Scrappy, weak, light reading
“Many who would not read even a brilliant novel of a certain type, sit down to read twaddle without scruple. Nothing is too scrappy, nothing is too weak to ‘pass the time!’ The ‘Scraps’ literature of railway bookstalls is symptomatic. We do not all read scraps, under whatever piquant title, but the locust-swarm of this class of literature points to the small reading power amongst us. The mischief begins in the nursery. No sooner can a child read at all than hosts of friendly people show their interest in him by a present of a ‘pretty book.’ A ‘pretty book’ is not necessarily a picture-book, but one in which the page is nicely broken up in talk or short paragraphs. Pretty books for the schoolroom age follow those for the nursery, and, nursery and schoolroom outgrown, we are ready for ‘Mudie’s’ lightest novels; the succession of ‘pretty books’ never fails us; we have no time for works of any intellectual fibre, and we have no more assimilating power than has the schoolgirl who feeds upon cheese-cakes” (Vol. 5, p. 214).
I admit, I have rather high goals for my kids’ when it comes to their learning. I expect as they grow, that they would have a love of language(s) and the intricacies (also an understanding) of words and the power held within them, and a desire to increase in learning – a love of wisdom.
While I do not stop my son from reading Garfield now and again and we definitely enjoy a bit of Calvin & Hobbes here and there, it is important that what they do, how they spend their time, is real. May we encourage, ourselves too, to be surrounded by that which changes us – which breathes life into dry bones (or brings something to life!) Truly we should never stop learning. And the greatest experiences are often the most powerful and life changing of them all.