Trivium Pursuit

No case is hopeless while Jesus lives

September 16th, 2015

Morning and Evening
Daily Readings by C.H. Spurgeon

September 17 Morning

Bring him unto me. Mark 9:19

Despairingly, the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus’ word, “Bring him unto me.” Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, “Bring him unto me.” O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, “Bring them unto me.” When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words, “Bring them unto me.” Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning’s need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.


Hope Is

September 12th, 2015

Hope is a virgin of a fair and clear countenance; her proper seat is upon the earth, her proper object is in heaven. Faith is her attorney-general, prayer her solicitor, patience her physician, charity her almoner, thankfulness her treasure, confidence her vice-admiral, the promise of God her anchor, peace her chair of state, and eternal glory her crown. –Thomas Adams

attorney-general — the main legal advisor to the government
solicitor — a legal practitioner
almoner — an official distributor of alms
vice-admiral — a senior naval officer rank
chair of state — a ceremonial chair for an exalted or powerful person



Is there one of these in your life? Narcissism: the new epidemic

September 11th, 2015


Narcissists want power, are egotistical and abusive, lovable, extraverted, but, they don’t make good leaders.

“…One of the best places to spot narcissism is at the top of a company or a public organization. The narcissism can be detected by being sensitive to resistance from the top. The top, or the person or persons at the top, will resist efforts toward change in process or structure. The resistance is communicated through a variety of techniques: always needing more information, appearing confused or having a lack of clarity; excuses; premeditated “blowups” or other distractions from whatever the issues being considered. A common example is as follows: a position needs to be filled in order for an important project to move forward. The boss, preferring control over progress and efficiency, delays and delays the hiring of the new executive, consistently finding something wrong with either the candidates or the search firm….” –The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainabilityby Bruce Gregory, Ph.D.

“…many people have the fantasy that if they try hard, “do it right,” be reasonable, logical, and have goodwill and a team approach, these factors will generate a positive outcome in interpersonal or group settings. This is about as deep a fantasy as one could possibly have, as it is not based in reality. Why is this? It is not based in reality because a narcissist survival is dependent on having control, or the perception of control. When a narcissist’s control is challenged (and this is what efforts toward sustainability do by definition), he becomes threatened, and responds like his survival is at stake, transforming the environment into a veritable jungle. This is not the friendly environment of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood! In addition narcissism is disdainful of such attitudes (fantasies). A third factor which reinforces the stranglehold narcissism can have is when people are committed to being “nice” or fair, and as a result are unwilling or unprepared to hold the narcissist accountable for positions or behaviors. Finally, an unwillingness to “go for the throat,” as champions do in sporting events, only allows narcissism to recycle and feed off its commitment to domination….” –The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainability by Bruce Gregory, Ph.D.

“…When narcissism perceives that it could lose control of a situation or process, it often feels threatened. The grandiosity’s sense of omnipotence is being threatened. When this happens, narcissism’s response can be one of character assassination of those who are threatening its objectives. The presence of character assassination is another way of detecting the presence of narcissism….” –The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainabilityby Bruce Gregory, Ph.D.

“…Narcissistic forces are also critical; they can be harsh in their judgments of anything short of perfection. They can be bullying and abusive in their verbal criticism, daring others to challenge their destructive communication tactics. Their underlying message contains some or all of the following: “I can intimidate you anytime I want. You are afraid to stand up to me, to challenge me. You are weak and spineless. Sometimes I will say something that I know is completely untrue or bullshit just to prove that you won’t challenge me.” Intimidation is used like a large boulder on a mountain road, saying “deal with me, or go down the mountain, and forget going ahead. I am the roadblock through which you must go….” –The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainability by Bruce Gregory, Ph.D.

“…Over-exposure tends to desensitize and neutralize people’s perception. A narcissist will want you, and others in your sphere, to believe that what they’re up to “isn’t that bad,” that you’re overreacting, or even that you’re making things up. They will use every attempt to influence for a “win,” and they will actively recruit others (including those in law enforcement and the judiciary, if need be) who can be manipulated into promoting their interests. Because of this, you must be prepared to take on a narcissist alone….” –Narcissism Clearinghouse

“…So while narcissists do see the big picture and have a strong vision, they are not good at working with others and eventually they become detrimental to the organization….in terms of day to day leadership, they can be toxic with subordinates. That becomes especially apparent after their employees get to know the way the narcissistic leader operates. The favorable first impressions they make are not sustainable over a period of time….organizations can try to contain and control a narcissist… However, for hiring mangers it’s a case of buyer beware because….no small amount of research suggests narcissism is a pretty toxic trait.” –The toxic effect of a narcissistic leader

“…In the article Narcissist: Good Leader, Bad Teammate? by Adi Gaskell, he writes: Narcissists typically have many of the qualities we associate with those of a strong leader. They have high self-esteem, confidence, and display authority. Research reveals that narcissists automatically take over the helm of a rudderless group of individuals. Research from Cornell University, for instance, reveals that more than one narcissist in a group damages performance of that group, as the two stags battle it out for top status. If they performed on their own, however, research showed that they were perceived to perform better by onlookers, due no doubt to their confidence and self belief. However, when their output was measured objectively, without knowing who had produced it, it was found to be of lesser quality than less narcissistic people in the team. Further research supports these findings…” Distorted Face of Narcissistic Leadership – Quintessential Pro, Desperate Con: Jekyll-Hyde Behavior of Narcissism

“…A study published recently in Psychological Science looked at information flow within a team and the effect of this on decision-making. Interestingly, similar gaps between perception and reality exist in regard to communication effectiveness as was observed in the previous study. In the second study, just as in the first, onlookers believed that more information was shared by the narcissistic leader. Those in the group actually thought that the charismatic leaders were doing a great job. The reality, however, was that they were not. Information sharing was less than in groups led by non-narcissistic leaders, with end result being poor decisions generated by the narcissist led group. So the message seems to be that narcissistic leaders are great at pulling the wool over our eyes, but not so great at delivering the results their bravado suggests…” Distorted Face of Narcissistic Leadership – Quintessential Pro, Desperate Con: Jekyll-Hyde Behavior of Narcissism

“…An analysis by Florida State University concluded, unsurprisingly, that workplaces with narcissistic people have lower levels of job satisfaction and productivity, and greater amounts of stress….” Distorted Face of Narcissistic Leadership – Quintessential Pro, Desperate Con: Jekyll-Hyde Behavior of Narcissism



It’s all about me and don’t you dare forget it

September 9th, 2015

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of several types of personality disorders. “The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits.” (DSM-5)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing, enduring pattern of grandiosity, an overwhelming need for admiration, a lack of empathy toward others, and severely disturbed interpersonal relations.

Simple Narcissism vs Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissism is on a continuum — it goes from intermittent flavors of narcissism, all the way to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

We all encounter simple narcissism in people and in ourselves. Some seem to have strong doses of it, and some show patterns of it over a life-time.

In children, inflated self-views and grandiose feelings — characteristics of narcissism — are part of normal development. Children usually cannot understand the difference between their actual and their ideal self, which causes an unrealistic perception of the self. Around age eight, views of the self, both positive and negative, begin to develop and become more realistic. Dysfunctional interactions with parents, though, can cause a child’s self-view to remain immature and distorted.

Simple narcissism includes:

    preoccupation with image
    generally uninterested in the feelings of others

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to be diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a person would have five or more of the following nine characteristics:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration

5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

“Narcissism is a personality disorder and that means that narcissists’ personalities aren’t organized in a way that makes sense to most people. Interaction with narcissists is confusing — their reasons for what they do are not the same as normal reasons. In fact, treating them like normal people (e.g., appealing to their better nature or giving them the chance to apologize and make amends) will make matters worse with a narcissist.” –Joanna Ashmun

“Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self-esteem, cannot handle criticism, and often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. Comments and criticisms about others are vicious from sufferers of NPD, in an attempt to boost their own poor self-esteem.” Mayo Clinic

“Lying is the most common complaint about narcissists and that, in many instances, defects of empathy lead narcissists to wildly inaccurate misinterpretations of other people’s speech and actions, so that they may believe that they are liked and respected despite a history of callous and exploitative personal interactions.” –Joanna Ashmun

“Narcissists rarely admit to being distressed by their own behavior — they always blame other people for any problems.” –Joanna Ashmun

“Narcissists are (a) extremely sensitive to personal criticism and (b) extremely critical of other people. They think that they must be seen as perfect or superior or infallible, next to god-like, or else they are worthless. There’s no middle ground of ordinary normal humanity for narcissists. They can’t tolerate the least disagreement. In fact, if you say, “Please don’t do that again — it hurts,” narcissists will turn around and do it again harder to prove that they were right the first time; their reasoning seems to be something like “I am a good person and can do no wrong; therefore, I didn’t hurt you and you are lying about it now…” Narcissists are habitually cruel in little ways, as well as big ones, because they’re paying attention to their fantasy and not to you, but the bruises on you are REAL, not in your imagination. Thus, no matter how gently you suggest that they might do better to change their ways or get some help, they will react in one of two equally horrible ways: they will attack or they will withdraw. Be wary of wandering into this dragon’s cave — narcissists will say ANYTHING, they will trash anyone in their own self-justification, and then they will expect the immediate restoration of the status quo. They will attack you (sometimes physically) and spew a load of bile, insult, abuse, contempt, threats, etc., and then — well, it’s kind of like they had indigestion and the vicious tirade worked like a burp: “There. Now I feel better. Where were we?” They feel better, so they expect you to feel better, too. They will say you are nothing, worthless, and turn around immediately and say that they love you. When you object to this kind of treatment, they will say, “You just have to accept me the way I am.” Accepting them as they are (and staying away from them entirely) is excellent advice.” –Joanna Ashmun

“If people you work with are narcissists, you will be wise to keep an eye on them, if just for your own protection, because they don’t think very well, no matter what their IQs, they feel that the rules (of anything) don’t apply to them, and they will always cut corners and cheat wherever they think they can get away with it, not to mention alienating co-workers, clients, and customers by their arrogance, lies, malice, and off-the-wall griping. Narcissists are threatened and enraged by trivial disagreements, mistakes, and misunderstandings, plus they have evil mouths and will say ANYTHING, so if you continue to live or work with narcissists, expect to have to clean up after them, expect to lose friends over them, expect big trouble sooner or later.” –Joanna Ashmun

“Narcissists rarely enter treatment and, once in treatment, progress very slowly. We’re talking about two or more years of frequent sessions before the narcissist can acknowledge even that the therapist is sometimes helpful. It’s difficult to keep narcissists in treatment long enough for improvement to be made — and few people, narcissists or not, have the motivation or the money to pursue treatment that produces so little so late.” –Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994, commonly referred to as DSM-IV, of the American Psychiatric Association

“Narcissists can and do control themselves when someone’s good opinion is sought — in front of a judge, for instance — and are skilled at presenting a respectable, even admirable, public face; some are actually meek and mild in public. Most of us who’ve lived with narcissists have had the experience of being disbelieved when we dared to tell what goes on in private; in some ways, we can hardly believe it ourselves. Life with a narcissist is like a bad dream that you can’t wake up from. As a child, I used to be dazed by my narcissistic parent’s public demeanor — I wanted to take that person home with me or else live our entire family life in the protection of the public eye — so attractive, modest, and sweet that even I could hardly believe that this same person could be the raging fiend I knew at home … But truthful reports about narcissists’ private behavior are often treated as symptoms of psychological problems in the person telling the tale — by naming the problem, you become the person with the problem (and, let’s face it, it’s more gratifying to work on changing someone responsive than it is to tackle a narcissist). And I’m talking about the experience many of us have had with “the helping professions,” including doctors, teachers, clergy, counselors, and therapists. This stuff is hard to talk about in the first place because it’s weird, shameful, and horrifying, and then insult is added to injury when we’re dismissed as overreacting (how many times have we heard “You’re just too sensitive”?), deluded or malicious, as inventing stories, exaggerating, imagining things, misinterpreting — it goes on and on. The fact is that there is next to nothing anyone can do to modify a narcissist’s behavior and the only useful advice I ever got (first from my non-narcissistic parent, later repeated by my Jungian analyst) was “Get out and stay out.” –Joanna Ashmun

Resources on NPD

Narcissism And The System It Breeds — a talk by Christian PhD psychologist Diane Langberg on narcissism and the way it can effect Christian leaders, churches, and those within them

Best detailed and practical description of NPD I’ve read is by Joanna Ashmun here.

What Makes Narcissists Tick

Facebook Profiles Can Be Used To Detect Narcissism

Humpty Dumpty would make a good narcissist

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t —- till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean -— neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master -— that’s all.”

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them -— particularly verbs, they’re the proudest —- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -— however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

–Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass


Narcissism was named after Narcissus, a mythological Greek youth who became infatuated with his own reflection in a lake.


Volume Two of Art Curriculum Now Available

August 27th, 2015

Volume Two Art Curriculum Cover1000

Trivium Pursuit’s newest curriculum is now available — What Do You See? A Child’s First Introduction to Art, Volume Two [Kindle Edition] by Laurie Bluedorn.

This 36-page ebook can be purchased on Amazon for $2.99. The pdf version will be available soon at Trivium Pursuit.

What Do You See? A Child’s First Introduction to Art, Volume Two

This curriculum is a gentle and easy introduction to art appreciation for children, ages 4-12. Our goal is to introduce children to basic concepts in learning how to look at a piece of art and evaluate it. In addition, we want to spark in the child a love for the great works of art.

Here are five benefits for your students when they study art appreciation:

1. It will stimulate them to ask questions.
2. It will cause them to try to understand why the artist painted what he did.
3. It will push them to pay attention to details the artist placed inside his painting.
4. It will make them curious and perhaps try to paint something themselves.
5. It will stimulate them to research the life of the artist and the history of the painting.

The students and teacher should spend a bit of time observing the painting and then answer the questions. Since one of our goals is to learn to love art, we recommend that you ask the child to answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper. We want to make the learning experience enjoyable for you and the children.

This second volume will introduce only one elementary art principle — primary colors.

Some believe that the use of color is the most powerful part of a painting. With colors the artist can communicate to his audience a mood, attract attention, or make a statement. The artist can use color to make his audience feel happy or sad, angry or peaceful. All artists must learn to use color effectively.

Of course, you know that there are many, many colors in the world, but there are three colors which are called primary colors – red, yellow, and blue. These three colors are called primary colors for two reasons: 1. No two colors can be mixed to create a primary color – primary colors can only be created through the use of natural pigments; 2. All other colors can be created by mixing primary colors together.

In this volume of What Do You See? we will be studying only one aspect of color – finding the three primary colors in a painting.

Table of Contents for Volume Two

1. Le Tour Du Monde by André-Henri Dargelas
2. Teaching a Dog New Tricks by John Arthur Lomax
3. The Baptism of the Eunuch by Rembrandt
4. Arabs Crossing the Desert by Jean-Leon Gerome
5. The Blind Girl by John Everett Millais
6. The Good Turn by George Hillyard Swinstead
7. The Animals Entering the Ark by Jan Brueghel the Elder
8. The First Lesson by Louis-Emile Adan
9. Baseball Players Practicing by Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins
10. The Reading Lesson by Paul Seignac

You can also purchase of What Do You See? A Child’s First Introduction to Art, Volume One on Amazon or at Trivium Pursuit.

Table of Contents for Volume One

1. Little Red Riding Hood and Grandmother by Harriet Backer
2. The Dog Cart by Henriëtte Ronner-Knip
3. The Birthday Cake by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
4. Boy with Baby Carriage by Norman Rockwell
5. Feeding the Baby by Axel Theophilus Helsted
6. Elsie Cassatt Holding a Big Dog by Mary Cassatt
7. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent
8. Cottage Girl with Dog and Pitcher by Thomas Gainsborough
9. A Child’s Menagerie by Eastman Johnson
10. Belshazzar’s Feast by Rembrandt


The Conversation I Almost Missed & the Future It Could’ve Cost

August 11th, 2015


“I thought it was my job to teach my children a lesson. But what I was teaching them was that I could never be satisfied. I was teaching them to confide in someone else -— someone who would be more understanding and less reactive. I was teaching them to strive for perfection, no matter the cost.” –Rachel Macy Stafford

Read the rest of the article here.


How do we teach Latin or Greek to a child when we don’t know the language ourselves?

August 10th, 2015


Question: How do we teach Latin or Greek to a child when we don’t know the language ourselves? In fact, having attended public school, we feel as if we lack a healthy grasp of the English language!

Answer: When we first learned English, did we construct sentences based upon a conscious knowledge of subject-verb agreement? No. Such categories of grammar were beyond your understanding. Nevertheless, in a short time, we mastered the art of constructing understandable sentences which were usually grammatically correct. Mastering a language is not the same as mastering its formal grammar. Many persons communicate quite well in English who have never mastered textbook grammar.

Imagine yourself in a classroom where you must at the same time master both the basics of a language and its formal grammar. Not a good idea. Yet that is exactly what is done in seminaries. The seminary student is required to master Greek grammar before he has any familiarity with the Greek language. There are a few sharp and diligent students who can handle this, but most students half-fake their way through it, then promptly forget most of what they temporarily planted in their short-term memory.

Here is a better course to take — one which will work for everyone. First, learn to read and to write the language. Spend a good long time mastering the alphabet and the phonetics. Use an interlinear text and practice reading. (The interlinear will show you what each word means in English.) Memorize portions in Greek (or Latin or Hebrew) and in English. Become familiar with the look and the sound of the language. This way, when you begin studying the grammar, it won’t all be Greek to you even if it actually is Greek!

When it comes to studying a foreign language grammar, it will be to your advantage to know English grammar. If you don’t know English grammar, then you’ll have no choice except to learn it right along with the foreign grammar.

In summary, it’s best not to try to master both the language and its formal grammar at the same time, and one cannot master a foreign grammar without mastering English grammar, so it’s best not to try to master both at the same time. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what most grammar texts require. You’ll probably do much better if you adapt the text to the reality of how we learn — first knowledge (the basics), then understanding (the logical structure), then wisdom (the polished practice).


New Tiny Grand

July 24th, 2015

Daughter Helena just had a baby! Due to a burst appendix at 27 weeks, little Violet Tamzon Auberg decided she needed to make an early appearance. All is well with mother and babe.


at 27 weeks, 2lb 1oz


a few drops of liquid gold for Violet


named after her great-grandmother


tiny hand


The Tutor for Charlotte Mason & Classical Educators — free until August 15

July 24th, 2015


THE TUTOR is a 9 volume library of Classical & Charlotte Mason style educational treasures, including:

Outdoor games & activities
Nature projects and stories
Great Literature & Poetry
Music & Art History and Appreciation
Character Building Stories & Activities
Famous Speeches and Letters
Communication, Rhetoric & Logic Skills
Biographical sketches of famous men of long ago
Bible verses in Latin (with the English alongside) for copywork
Lesson Plans, Schedules and helpful Teaching Tips
…and much, much more.

Over 1300 content-rich pages of classic teaching materials, readings, lessons, full color art prints, activities & more.

The TUTOR PDF library will have a price tag of $69 in September, but you can get ALL NINE VOLUMES free when you join the Homeschool Freebie of the Day subscriber list by August 15th.


Speech and Debate Resources

July 13th, 2015

Speech — A short introduction

Debate — A short introduction; how to get started in debate; how to research a topic; and general rules for debate

National Homeschool Speech and Debate organization

Homeschool Speech and Debate Discussion Loop — archives of group email exchanges from 1997 when homeschool speech and debate was just starting

Bibliography for Speech, Debate, and Interpretive Reading — books, videos, audio tapes, and articles

Pieces That Have Won Prizes — pieces for oral interpretation

Speech & Debate Internet Resources

Here’s a good introduction to your speech and debate study —


The Fallacy Detective