Thursday, February 23, 2006

Aristotle & Parenting

Aristotle helps me understand my children. My 5-year old son had hit his 6-year old sister, and both were crying. "Why did you hit your sister?," I asked. "Because she said she hated me." Ah, I thought. That was the efficient cause. His hitting was provoked by her cruel invective.

But that provided only half the answer. "You wanted to hurt her, didn't you?," I asked. "Yes." That was the final cause. He hit her in order to hurt her, or because his goal was to cause her pain, just as her words had cause him pain.

The second idea stands out as the most important in my mind. What provokes me to sin is not nearly as significant as my desire or intention to sin, which springs from the dark places of my own heart. It is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what proceeds out of a man. For the things that proceed out of a man come from the heart, and those defile the man. (Matt. 15:11-20)


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