Paths and Choices:  Parenting  3.2.0

We are obsessive about parenting shortcuts and experts.  Analysis and discussion of effective parenting seem unending in modern culture.  Maybe this is because our extended families are often no longer sources of advice.  Maybe we experience a mental or psychological dissonance between our fears of inadequacy and our required responsibility to guide and protect our families.  Perhaps it would be useful to attempt a practical and concrete examination of what direction we could choose to go as parents and the means we can use to get to our imagined goal.

Do we want our children to Grow or Decay?  This may seem like a foolish question.  But it is not.  Should our children be “better” than we are or “better off” than we are?  What does that mean exactly?  Often our greatest desire is to become wealthy, to have power or celebrity, or to own things and people.  We are wishing for Decay.  We may say – I just want my children to be happy or I just want my children to be successful – but in our minds happiness and success equal owning things, having power to make demands, or being rich and famous.  Is that our real wish for our children?

The model of moral Growth and Decay seems to me to be one of the simplest ways of discussing parenting.  Also because of its basic simplicity, it is one of the most effective explanations of various causes and effects in parenting.  Are we trying to pass on a love of force, violence, and power?  a malignant form of self-centeredness and disrespect of others?  dependence and fear, or the power to be feared?  Or might we choose to encourage  our children to choose love of life, love of others, and willingness to risk taking actions based on personal responsibility, freedom, and long-term wisdom?  Where is our example leading?

Phyllis Ballata

Without Words We Cannot Think

” . . . All men [people], by what they think about and wish for, in effect wield all tools.  [Philosophy] knows that men thus determine by their manner of thinking and wishing, whether it is worthwhile to wield any.”  Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), “Axe in Hand,” Sand County Almanac with Essays on Conservation from Round River (1949)


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