Perhaps you have been wondering what in the world a "child for all seasons" means. Perhaps you already know the connection. "A Child for all Seasons" is the kind of child I hope my own children become and the kind of person I too, hope to be. Read on if you are intrigued.
Have you ever heard of the movie "A Man For All Seasons?" If you haven't then go right now and update your Netflix queue. This 1960's film won six academy awards including Best Picture and Best Actor and was based on the original play by Robert Bolt. Both the film and the play depict Sir Thomas More's (known by Catholic's as Saint Thomas More) clash with King Henry VIII over his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Obviously none of this has anything to do with children's books or children. Beyond the historical contingencies of "A Man For All Seasons," however, is a simple story of conscience. Neither wealth nor power or loss thereof (and even threat of death) could sever More's commitment to his principles and all that he held sacred. The title, "A Man For All Seasons" refers to just that. As Robert Wittington (a contemporary of More) wrote:
"More is a man of angel's wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of a sad gravity. A man for all seasons."
Don't we as parents desire more than anything else to see our children become "a child of all seasons," capable of facing with dignity and grace whatever life throws their way?
I am not saying that reading a few good books will make a saint out of any of us. A love for books, however, develops into a love for learning. Learning is the basis of character. Books with substance "tell us who we are" (Marcia Brown). When we know who we are we try our best to be just that. And as Charlotte Mason once said, "If the books are good enough kids will rise to the challenge."
Young children live in their imaginations and in doing so, they relive the stories they read within the theater of their minds. This is why great stories for children, along with formal sacred teachings, can have a deep impact on the inner life.