August Bethany Weekend Full, New July Date Announced

Fatherwithchild

“For the begetter is the ruler by reason of love and age…” Aristotle, Politics

Perhaps we do not normally think of parents as rulers. Aristotle did.

He seems to think that after giving children life there is nothing more important than giving them direction: direction in how to live; that is, live well. This presupposes that there are right ways of living, and wrong, and that children need to be guided to the right.

Ruling and authority have a bad name today. But for the ancients authority is an office of special beauty and importance in human life. Authority is necessary in order that people—in this case children—be able to find true happiness.

Parental rule is rooted in age, as age denotes a wisdom that comes from experience. A ruler must have knowledge of the real goal of human life, and how to get there.

Parental authority is also rooted in love, and is an exercise of love. It is always fundamentally about the children, and their good.

But if true authority must be exercised with love, it is also the case that parental love must be exercised with authority. Parents need to rule. Not that ruling and making rules are synonymous. Rules have a place; yet praise, encouragement, instruction, gentle correction, not to mention leading by example, are all essential. These can set the nurturing tone of well-exercised parental authority.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher.

Image: George de la Tour, Joseph the Carpenter, 1642

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

The Key of Peace

“Peace is the tranquility of order.” St. Augustine, The City of God There are few words that exercise such a power over our hearts, and our imagination. A few years ago I was giving a lecture at a division-one university, introducing students to some basic points in...

read more

Playing Alone

When I was down beside the sea A wooden spade they gave to me To dig the sandy shore. Robert Louis Stevenson, At the Sea-Side A Child's Garden of Verses There is nothing quite like playing alone. To watch it is a privilege. Indeed, in watching one might even...

read more

Seeing is Seeing

For not only that we might act, but even when we intend to do nothing, we prefer sight, as we may say, to all the other senses. Aristotle, Metaphysics This year the fireflies have been stunning. Last night my wife and I were mesmerized; we just sat and looked. And we...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest