The Ladder of Parenting

What does it mean to “raise” a child? We feed our children, we educate them, we teach them how to cross the street, we give them a loving environment, but when do we “raise” them? When do we lift them up?

When a child is young, the only pleasure he or she knows is the pleasure of running, jumping, eating candy, and other sensual activities. Now we must raise them up.

There is a ladder of pleasure. On the lowest rung are the pleasures of touch and feel. On the next rung is the pleasure of another sensual activity but one that appeals to the higher senses: Music, rhythm. On the next level is the pleasure of good character. When you hear a story about a good, heroic deed and it gives you pleasure, you are on this level. The next rung is the pleasure of intelligence, the pleasure of figuring something out or hearing something smart.

To help a child from one rung to the next, to teach a child who’s only love is candy to enjoy a beautiful song, to teach a child to enjoy goodness, and then to teach them to enjoy intelligence, is to raise a child.

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