Authority is neither harsh nor indulgent. She is gentle and easy to be entreated in all matters immaterial, just because she is immovable in matters of real importance; for these, there is always a fixed principle. It does not, for example, rest with parents and teachers to dally with questions affecting either the health or the duty of their children. They have no authority to allow to children indulgences––in too many sweetmeats, for example––or in habits which are prejudicial to health; nor to let them off from any plain duty of obedience, courtesy, reverence, or work. Authority is alert; she knows all that is going on and is aware of tendencies. She fulfills the apostolic precept––"He that ruleth, let him do it with diligence." But she is strong enough to fulfill that other precept also, "He that showeth mercy, let him do it with cheerfulness"; timely clemency, timely yielding, is a great secret of strong government. 
Charlotte Mason gives us a picture of authority in balance. It is up to us to distinguish between those matters that are of real importance and those that are immaterial, holding firm on the former and being flexible in the latter. (We are the adults and this is what adults do). Yet, as we seek to make such distinctions, occasionally the children “have right on their side: a claim may be made or an injunction resisted, and the children are in opposition to parent or teacher. It is well for the latter to get the habit of swiftly and imperceptibly reviewing the situation; possibly, the children may be in the right, and the parent may gather up his wits in time to yield the point graciously.” In so doing, parent or teacher gains the child’s love and loyalty.
 Mason, School Education, 17.