I decided to start this blog to share the content of the lectures I give for parents, with other couples that are interested in becoming better parents. This is a talk I give entitled: Because I want to! Forming the Will of our Children and I will present it in several parts.
I am originally from Argentina and although I have lived here for many years so may find some grammatical mistakes, hopefully not many!
For most of the parents, the principal objectives of the education of their children are that they get good grades, that they understand mathematics, learn languages, etc. And as children grow up, parents are concerned about university degrees, professional qualifications, etc. In other words, KNOWLEDGE is the goal, and knowing is a result of the activity of the intellect.
In order to KNOW, one has to WANT to know. It is through the will that a person wants. Wanting is an activity of the will. The focus is on WANTING. If this is accomplished, there will be no problem in “knowing”. If our children want to study and are habitually orderly, persevering and responsible, one result will be good grades, a degree, etc.
Possessing a well directed will-power, makes it easier for us to do whatever we set our minds to (hopefully, what we set our minds to is to pursue the Good that our intelligence acknowledges).
What is important is that our children are in control of their own free will and be free and responsible people. That they be free from what? From their own tendencies to laziness, to inordinate pleasure, to anger, to all disordered passions that take them away from pursuing what it’s truly Good. For example: Your teenage boy can understand with his intelligence that being a good professional and a good husband, as his dad is, is an objective that he would like to achieve because he sees it as an objective Good. Also he sees that he has the intelligence and other capacities to achieve it. However, if he is enslaved by his attachment to video games, TV , he is lazy, lacks endurance and perseverance, he will not be able to attain this objective Good that he would like to achieve. Those attachments that he thought would bring him happiness, end up bringing him failure and disappointment (at least to some degree).
I recently attended a lecture by Steve Markel who developed a program called Families of Character who said how he and his wife attended a lecture by Jim Stenson when their kids were young who spoke about the importance of educating in virtue, but life took over and they never did anything about it. In fact, they outsourced their parenting by sending their children to a great catholic school and enrolling them in wonderful sports programs. By the time they were in high school and some in college already, they realized their big mistake. They had not formed the will of their children and they were lazy, selfish and wanted to be entertained all the time. So if this resonates with you, pay attention!
Intelligence is developed in the family setting, most intensely during the first years of life and also at school. However, the will is formed basically in the heart of the family, because values and virtues are formed in the course of family life. So obviously, we parents are the ones who play the leading role in forming our children.
How do we form the Will?
So how do we help our children break free from these tendencies that keep them from achieving the higher goals (objective Goods) that, with our guidance, they set for themselves?
A virtue is a good habit that improves the operation of the Will and of the Intelligence. These habits are acquired and perfected through the repetition of acts, and specifically of internal acts. You acquire a habit by: - the demand of another person
We as parents DEMAND from our children certain things to help them grow in virtue. Though this may continue as they grow up, the idea is that they grow in virtue by self-demand, because they want to be more orderly, more generous or sincere. The goal is that they grow in virtue BECAUSE THEY WANT TO!
The contents of this lecture were taken from different sources:
Educar la Voluntad by Fernando Corominas
Several lectures given by David Isaacs
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Pilar Caranti holds a Masters in Psychology from the Catholic University of Argentina. She is a Certified Professional Life Coach. Family topics and the education of children are her passion. She has given many lectures on parenting topics like: forming the will of our children, authority, education of leisure, pornography, etc.