Home » (Criticisms and Critiques) » A Quip. Of Raising Children.

A Quip. Of Raising Children.

Does the wise man want a compliant son, or does he want his son to be good? If he believes his son can be both, maybe he thinks too highly of himself.


5 thoughts on “A Quip. Of Raising Children.

  1. Are compliance and goodness juxtaposed to show being a good boy is not being a compliant boy? Is goodness a compliant trait? Could goodness be found compliant or resistive depending on the goodness of the father to whom one responds?

    • Wade! I’ll call you today.

      Question 1. Goodness and compliance are not necessarily opposed.
      Question 2. Goodness is not a kind of compliant behavior.
      Question 3. Yes. If the father is perfect and without any fault, then compliance and goodness are equivalent; absolute obedience is the faultless father’s greatest desire for the son. But if the father is “the wise man”—who has faults but knows how to accept rebuke for those faults—then his highest concern would not be compliance, since absolute obedience would guarantee that the son inherits the father’s faults. The wise man would not necessarily encourage resistance either. Instead, he would check himself, altering his commands and his ways and his teachings so that the son clearly perceives what is most valuable to the father.

      Look at it another way. What will students in a classroom do if they perceive that the teacher cares more about making them follow the rules than about teaching them what is good?

    • It is also important to note that the quip is speaking of and to the one in authority, not the one who is under that authority.

  2. There is another idea that a teacher should foster resistance to blind acceptance of his teaching. Instead, the leader/teacher instructs the student and then challenges the student to prove, disprove, or improve on the lesson. While this seems combative, it may be an antidote to the man who thinks too highly of himself. Resistance to false teaching may be a good lesson to comply with.

    (How I have missed your call(s) today! How I have thought to call you!)

    • (We’re getting farther away from what I originally meant by compliant.)

      I’m not sure that teaching the son to be critical would be an “antidote” to the father’s pride. Although the lesson of critical thinking is worthwhile and may indeed result in a young adult who can discern the good, the lesson in critical thinking is still looking at what the son should do, and it does not address the father’s heart. To combat the father’s pride, something—maybe something more powerful than this quip—needs to prompt the father to turn ironically toward himself so that he, not his son, for the sake of the good, calls into question the commands he gives.

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