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Quotes for Copy Work from

Here are some quotes that I’ve gleaned from Charlotte Mason’s 4th volume, Ourselves. Even if we have not set a goal to read this book with our children (upper elementary through high school), they may take some noble ideas into their hearts by copying Charlotte’s own words on character development. You may copy and paste these quotes into your word processor; I suggest using a slightly bigger size font and leave extra spaces between quotes so you can cut the hard copy into strips and add to the copy work candy jar. (Note: I chose to use the common American spellings of certain words rather than remain faithful to Miss Mason’s equally correct British spellings. If you are not American, you may want to change them back to the English spellings before having your children copy these quotes.)

All beautiful and noble possibilities are present in everyone. (Preface)

The soul of a man is infinitely great, beautiful, and precious in itself. (Introduction)

Nobody knows how much is possible to any one person. Many persons go through life without recognizing this. They have no notion of how much they can do and feel, know and be; and so their lives turn out poor, narrow, and disappointing. (p. 9)

Never think of your meals till they come, and, while you are eating, talk and think of something more amusing than your food. (p. 13)

Thirst is a simple fellow; the beverage he likes best is pure cold water. (p. 15)

By far the greater part of the sin, misery, and poverty in the world is caused by Drunkenness. (p. 17)

We should always have something worthwhile to think about, that we may not let our minds dwell upon unworthy matters. (p. 21)

“Thou, God, seest me.’ That thought will come home to them, so that they will not be able to make themselves unclean by even a thought or a word. They will turn away their eyes from beholding evil; they will not allow themselves to read, or hear, or say a word that should cause impure thoughts. (p. 22)

Thus they will glorify God in their bodies. Every boy or girl who realizes this is a hero in the sight of God, is fighting a good fight, and is making the world better. When the pure marry, their children will be blessed, for they will be good, healthy, and happy, because they have pure parents. (p. 23)

I think we should be rather glad to have little things to put up with now and then just that we may get into the way of not letting ourselves think about such matters. We might all try to bear the sting of a wasp without making a fuss. (p. 28)

It is a mistake, perhaps, to think that to do one thing well, we must just do and think about that and nothing else all the time. It is our business to know all we can and to spend a part of our lives in increasing our knowledge. That is one way in which we become greater persons, and the more a person is, the better he will do whatever piece of special work falls to his share. Let us have, like Leonardo, a spirit ‘invariably royal and magnanimous.’ (p. 47)

Great artists, whether they be poets or painters, builders or musicians, have the power of expressing and showing to the rest of us some part of the wonderful visions Imagination has revealed to them. But the reason why we enjoy their pictures, their poems, or their tales, is because Imagination does the same sort of thing for all of us, if in a less degree. (p. 48)

Never knowingly read anything or listen to anything which could suggest unclean imaginations. (p. 52)

There are few things that prove the amazing greatness and power of man so much as this gift of Reason. Remembering that we have a great gift, let us use it in thinking out great matters; and then some day, the opportunity to think out some great service for the world will be put in our way. The chance of doing nearly always comes when we are ready for it. (p. 63)

Perhaps we shall best use this wonderful power of reasoning by giving it plenty of work to do, by asking ourselves what is the cause of this and that; why do people and animals do certain things. Reason which is not worked grows sluggish; and there are persons who never wonder nor ask themselves questions about anything they see. (p. 65)

Nice boys and girls, nice men and women, think well of us just for doing our best; we know that, and do not think of showing off before them.” (p. 67)

He who takes pains to acquire wealth as a part of his life, and not the chief part, may get for himself the means of being generous and helpful to other people. (p. 70)

Power is a good thing when it gives us many chances of serving; it is a bad thing when all we care about is to rule. (p. 71)

The work of Pity in our hearts seems to be to stir us up to help those who suffer. (p. 87)

Still more careful must we be never to go over in our minds for an instant any chance, hasty, or even intended word or look that might offend us. A spot no bigger than a halfpenny may blot out the sun of our friends’ love and kindness, of the whole happiness of life, and shut us up in a cold and gloomy cell of shivering discontent. (p. 90)

Never let us reflect upon small annoyances, and we shall be able to bear great ones sweetly. Never let us think over our small pains, and our great pains will be easily endurable. (p. 90)

The other and surer way of guarding ourselves from this evil possession of self-pity is to think about others. Be quick to discern their pains and sufferings, and be ready to bring help. (p. 90)

To be benevolent is to have good will towards all men. (p. 91)

Benevolence makes us able, not only to bear with the people who annoy us and irritate us, but to give them sincere and hearty liking. Perhaps there is nobody who we should not be able to love if we really knew him, because all persons are born with beautiful qualities of mind and heart; and though the beauty of a person’s nature may be like a gem buried under a dust-heap, it is always possible to remove the dust and recover the gem. (p. 91)

Benevolence is always gracious, simple, pleasant and accessible, because he so heartily likes all man and women, boys and girls. He is indefatigable too, because, with so many friends who have so many needs, there is much for him to do; but all that he does gives him pleasure, so it is easy for him to smile as he goes. (p. 93)

Sympathy is comprehension. For to understand one human being so completely that you feel his feelings and think is thoughts is really like gaining possession of a new world; it is gaining the power of living in another’s life. Each trait we know in one person should be a key to open the natures of others. (p. 95)

Sympathy is an eye to discern, a lever to raise, an arm to sustain. (p. 96)

Kindness is to make everyday life pleasant and comfortable to others. (p. 99)

The essence of acts of Kindness is that they should be unremembered. (p. 101)

If we think kindly of another’s thoughts--think, for example, that an ungentle action or word may arise from a little clumsiness and not from lack of kindness of heart--we shall probably be right and be no more than fair to the person concerned. (p. 102)

Of all the causes of unhappiness, perhaps few bring about more distress in the world than the habit of putting an ungentle construction upon the ways and words of the people they live with. (p. 102)

The generous man will have friends of widely different types, because he is able to give large entertainment to men of many minds, and to meet them upon many points. (p. 105)

Generosity is also a saving grace; for the generous man escapes a thousand small perplexities, worries, and annoys; he walks serene in a large room. There are so many great things to care about that he has no mind and no time for the small frettings of life; his concerns are indeed great, for what concerns man concerns him. (p. 105)

It is generous to trust, to trust freely, to trust our tradespeople and our servants, our friends and neighbors, those in authority over us the those subordinate to us. (p. 107)

A grateful heart rejoices not only in the gift but in the giver. (p. 109)

Formal thanks are proper enough on occasions, but there are other ways of expressing gratitude. A glance, a smile, a word of appreciation and recognition straight from the heart, will fill the person who has done us a kindness with pleasure. (p. 109)

Gratitude spreads his feast of joy and thanksgiving for gifts that come to him without any special though of him on the part of the giver. He is thankful for all the good that comes to him.
(p. 110-111)

If we would but believe it, we have all courage to face any calamity, any enemy, an death.
(p. 122)

The strength, grace, and dignity of a constant mind is the ingathering of Loyalty. (p. 123)

Humility is perhaps one with Simplicity, and does not allow us to think of ourselves at all, ill or well. It is good to be humble. Humble people are happy and good. (p. 129)

There is a fountain of Gladness in everybody’s heart only waiting to be unstopped. (p. 131)

Our gladness rejoices the people we come across, as our heaviness depresses them. (p. 133)

There is nothing so catching as Gladness, and it it good for each of us to know that we carry joy for the needs of our neighbors. But this is treasure that we give without knowing it or being any the poorer for what we have given away. (p. 133)

We are sad and not glad because we are sorry for ourselves. (p. 134)

Justice requires that we should take steady care every day to yield his rights to every person we come in contact with. Therefore, we must show gentleness to the persons of others, courtesy to their words, and deference to their opinions, because these things are due. We must be true and just in all our dealing. (p. 137)

It is quite plain that to think fairly, speak truly, and act justly towards all persons at all times and on all occasions, which is our duty, is a matter requiring earnest thought and consideration--is, in fact, the study of a lifetime. (p. 138)

Many a poor soul is blind because he fixes his eyes all the time on his own rights and other people’s duties; therefore he cannot see other people’s rights and his own duties. That is, he cannot be just. (p. 139)

We have rights, precisely the same rights as other people. And when we learn to think of ourselves as one of the rest, with just the same rights as other people and no more, to whom others owe just such duties as we owe to them and no more, we shall get our lives in focus and see things as they are. (p. 139)

To think fairly about the personal rights of others requires a good deal of knowledge as well as judgment. (p. 141)

A fair sense of the value of things helps us much in leading the just life. (p. 142)

We should not push in a crowd or jostle others. We should give place gently in walking the streets, should make room on public seats for others who wish to sit. We all know how soothing is the presence of a gentle person in a room; a person whose tone of voice and whose movements show that he has imagination, that he realizes the presence of other people whose comfort he would not willing destroy. (p. 142)

We are courteous to the words of others. We listen and do not contradict. We try to understand; and, when other persons express their opinions, however much they may differ from ours, we keep ourselves from violence in thought and word, and listen with deference where we cannot agree. Then, when we state our own notions with gentleness and modesty, we shall find that they are gently received. (p. 143)

Justice ordains that we shall think fair thoughts of everybody. (p. 143)

It is by this unwritten law of integrity that every true man tries the work that is brought to him. The honest worker is a person of integrity, that is, a whole man. Every person owes integrity to himself as well as to others; and it is he, himself, who will suffer most in the end for every failure to produce honest work in a given time. (p. 168)

A man of integrity is a whole man, complete and sound. (p. 169)

Put first things first. Now, the power of ordering, organizing, one’s work which this implies distinguishes between a person of intelligence and the unintelligent person who lets himself be swamped by details. The power to distinguish what must be done at once, from what may be done, comes pretty much by habit. At first it requires attention and thought. The person whose mind has the habit of singling out the important things and doing them first, saves much annoyance to himself and others, and has gained in Integrity. (p. 171-172)

It is a bad thing to think that time is our own to do what we like with. We all have duties, and a certain share of our time must be given to those duties. This power of making oneself work is a fine thing. Every effort makes the next easier. (p. 173)

What we want is--not the best thing that can be had at the lowest possible price--but a thing suitable for our purpose, at a price which we can afford to pay and know to be just. (p. 176)

Good principles are offered to us in an unobtrusive way, with little force and little urging. Bad principles are clamorous and urgent, drowning the voice of conscience by noisy talk. (p. 188-189)

We know that we owe just to those about us. There remains one person to whom we owe a debt of justice, and many lives are wasted because this person is unjustly treated. The friend whom we are apt to neglect when we are dealing out justice is ourself. Few things are more sad than to see a beautiful body, made for health, strength, and happiness--made in the image of God--injured and destroyed by bad habits. (p. 191-192)

All callings have one thing in common--they are of use; and, therefore, a person may prepare for his calling years before he knows what it is. Everyone has immense ‘chances,’ as they are called; but the business of each is to be ready for his chance. (p. 205)