Parenting: An Idea

My daughter just turned three today. A bittersweet moment, to say the least.

We all get older, and with age we have more responsibility. We start to realize our many potentials: potential to do good, potential to think, to reason, to live with each other. It is these responsibilities that mould us and shape us into the adults we'll be. I listen to the podcasts of a psychology professor who does an excellent job of explaining the philosophy of Piaget. People must learn to be good to one another. And, guess what, it starts at home.

After the party was all said and done, and the other three-year olds left with their parents, my daughter cuddled up on the couch with her nana, and the two took a nap, and I started to think about my role. I'm writing now while they sleep on the couch. And, while they sleep I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by her.

Then, I started wondering what I meant by "the right thing." Kant, one of my idols, believed there must be a moral imperative, that people must be taught how to be moral, and that it doesn't come naturally. We are all sinners, and the ultimate goal of ours is to learn to live life best.

Which brings up an interesting dilemma: what does it mean to 'live life best?' We can repeat the "Golden Rule" to our children until we're blue in the face, but is that the best we can do? We can follow the Ten Commandments, Hammurabi's Code, Cicero's roads of logic, but where will that take us if we're not willing to put it into practice? And that, I suppose is what I mean by living life best.

We have to put these ideas into practice.

Then, I wondered, what are the ideas?

Christ, in his Sermon on the Mount, gave us several chapters of rules Matthew called the Beatitudes. Buddha gave the world the Eight-fold Path. Hippocrates even gave us the moral imperative "First, do no harm." So, it's not like we have a lack of supposed morality. But, is morality subjective? Should it be?

On a side note, this is perhaps an issue I have with language. We all have entered this social contract of language with each other, agreeing that certain sounds create certain meanings. But, the problem of morality is compounded when we don't speak the same language.

So, can we get something clear? It is not okay to physically harm anyone else. Period.

I think that's as far as we can go before we start running into all sorts of questions and endless roads and abysses of thought. For I could say, "use words that only uplift others," and we could argue day and night about the meaning of "uplifting", what constitutes uplifting speech, and what the difference could be between constructive criticism and criticism and the impact on the developing psyche, etc. We could also speak about how whether or not people need to learn how to not be offended by speech, how to react to offensive speech, and so on and so forth. However, I think we can all agree that we should teach our children how to stand up for themselves, both verbally and physically.

In short, I have no idea what I'm doing as a father. All I know is that when I looked at her snuggled up against her nana, my heart swelled. I saw my mother-in-law remember all the times my wife did the same thing when she was three, and sometimes still does. I think good parenting means that you never stop being a mother or a father to your child or children. I also think that being an adult means that you'll never stop treating children as if they were your own. Always teach them something good.

Parents, be good to your kids. Feed them well, love them well, and model the life you want them to live.

Good luck and Godspeed.


Popular posts from this blog

The Light of Amorth (working title)

Aren't We All, Cont'd