A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Shaping your child’s character, not personality

It seems that everyone and everything in our world is obsessed with personality. Your personality type (of which there are many), Donald Trump’s personality, crafting a personality that will help you succeed in business or at cocktail parties. People are deemed desirable or undesirable on the basis of their personality: he’s weird, she talks too much, she’s desperate, he’s awkward.…

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Miscellaneous, Parenting basics

A vacation in your mind

Before I had kids, I loved to travel. Actually, I still love to travel. But as you can imagine, “travel” with three small children is a totally different experience than backpacking around Europe as a young adult. Since Clementine was born five years ago, we have been out of the country exactly one time. And with Freddy being just a…

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Dichotomy of control, Parenting basics

Cross-cultural Stoic parenting

My family lives in suburban America, but my husband is actually Turkish. He moved to the U.S. when he was 25. And his family still lives in Turkey, so we do have some ethnic intrigue to add interest to our lives. My children have only met their paternal grandparents once. When Clementine had just turned three and James was 18…

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Parenting basics

Disciplining your child, Stoic edition

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about applying the three Stoic disciplines (or topoi) to life as a parent. The discipline of desire and aversion, the discipline of impulse and action, and the discipline of assent are essential for anyone who wishes to achieve parenting eudaimonia. I also believe they provide an excellent framework for teaching your kids to…

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Parenting basics

The art of parenting

I’ve just finished reading John Sellars’ The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy. He describes the ancient Stoic view of the ultimate goal of philosophy, as well as several analogies they used to explain their philosophy. I’d like to extend the metaphor and look at how parenting can also be considered an art, according…

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Parenting basics

Vanity

Should I buy the anti-aging face cream? I’ve been browsing facial moisturizers on Amazon and trying to decide what the Stoic approach is to face lotions. I know that sounds silly–after all, what do moisturizers have to do with the serious business of Stoic philosophy? But it’s part of a larger question I’ve been asking myself lately: as a practicing…

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A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Your kids are smarter than you think

Musonius Rufus seems to have been one of the most cheerful Stoics, especially when it comes to humanity’s natural predispositions. Stoicism itself as a very optimistic philosophy, since it insists that people can and should become the agents of their own flourishing. But the ancient Stoics started from different positions on how far each of us must progress in order…

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A Stoic upbringing, Parenting basics

Stoic cool

The other day, as I was flipping through channels on my car radio, I started thinking about the challenge of raising morally excellent kids in a world in which being cool means not really caring about anything besides yourself. No matter what kind of music or tv shows you like, it’s hard to escape the cultural message that being edgy,…

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Parenting basics

Materialism

I’ve never really thought of myself as a materialistic person. I’ve always worn inexpensive clothes, lived in modest dwellings, and tried to judge my companions by the quality of their character rather than the expensiveness of their possessions. But when I had kids, my relationship with material goods suddenly changed. My husband and I found ourselves spending a lot of…

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