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STOIC POETRY | Teaching children to live well

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

September 4, 2019

Dear Eric,

What is the end pursuit of virtue? And for that matter what is virtue? I define virtue as the improvement of well-being. Where well-being is whatever does oppose and reduce suffering. Clean drinking water, better education, improved communications, medical care, safe city streets and international diplomacy. All of these things are examples and venues where well-being and - in turn - virtue may be pursued, discovered and produced. And this is just the start of the list. In a more personal sense, I also define virtue as being achieved through the good use of time.

The very best use of time Is enabling more of us To make good use of time

An exceedingly good use of time is helping others to make good use of their own time, which then compounds virtue through the amplification of general well-being. The very best way to facilitate this worthy end is through example, especially with children.

There is no need of an audience to model the good use of our time. In fact, it's better if our best efforts go unnoticed, as we then gain the quite worthy habit of living well for its own sake. And this can't help be noticed through a thousand daily incidentals. Our children will then pick up our good example through the very fact of our worthwhile existence, and our constant, seemingly mindless, will and action of living. And though they may not model our virtuous behavior right away, the example will be with them nonetheless, to be reflected on later in life, when their own experiments of living perhaps yield bitter fruit and they begin to search for something better. They may remember then what they saw in us, the little details of how we lived, the quiet focus on thoughts, decisions and activities that were good, that led to good, that facilitated well-being - not just for us but for the many - that, in fact, wore the face of virtue without that face ever quite being seen. Our children might understand us then through our example, and begin to emulate our living as their own discovered better way.

This is how we may teach children the good use of time.



My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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