"I cannot even begin to put into words the amazing blessings the Lord gave at the CMER. He graciously accepted our feeble prayers and plans and then accomplished His mighty work. Without a doubt, families are being changed for His glory."
I had not been directly asked that before by anyone, let alone a teenager who had been listening to and watching his mom for months preparing for the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat (CMER). How was I to answer? Why was he asking? What did he want to hear? I had no short, well-rehearsed answer. I thought the answer required time and perhaps a story. He, of course, was not looking for that. So I fumbled and said, “Because I like doing these kinds of things.”
The question reverberates in my mind, “Mom, why are you doing this thing with this retreat?” I should have had a better answer ready for him, because there is a better answer. I should have been ready to share with him the mission and vision of the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat.
and to encourage Reflection
But what about our vision? What is the difference between a mission and a vision? I like a definition written by Glenn Smith.
Mission answers the question “Why do we exist?” Vision answers the question “What will the future look like as we fulfill our mission? What will be different?” While mission is about today, vision is about the future, what we will become.1
For the past several weeks, we have been listening to and singing the 6th century hymn Be Thou My Vision in our Charlotte Mason cooperative community. As I write, a daughter is trying to plink the melody out on the piano. Earlier, my teenager was actually singing it as he was walking through the house. We sang it at CMER 2016. Are you familiar with the hymn? Here are several verses:
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art--
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
I think over the course of the last month the Lord has been preparing me to give much thought to the idea of a vision. Jennifer has already challenged our local group, the Aspen Grove Educational Community, to ponder these ideas. But I didn’t realize the Lord may also have had the CMER in his sites. We know why we exist, but “what will the future look like as we fulfill our mission?” Lord willing, I simply see God glorified through changed families and changed communities. Will that in part be the vision of CMER?
Miss Mason had a passion for vision as well, as seen in a letter she wrote to graduates of the House of Education (her teacher training school at Ambleside).
These efforts of yours show that you are a body, a living body, growing, I hope, not only by accretion from without—the addition of more and more House of Education students—but by vital growth from within, the steady increase in purpose, power, and effort in each one of you. Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideas out of sight and out of mind: —
“’Tis not what man Does which exalts him, but what man Would do,”
says Browning, and it is one of those profound sayings which should exert a steady influence on our lives. Let us never lose sight of our aims…it is important never to lose sight of what we “Would do,”…2
2 Mason, Charlotte. L’Umile Pianta, Jan. 1896, pp. 1&2