During the time when the church controlled what people could believe,
and the kings ruled over what people ought to own,
John Locke, an English doctor,
popularized three ideas that changed society and parenting forever.
First, people keep fighting over their beliefs,
because nobody can actually know which one is true.
To solve this problem,
everyone should have freedom of thought and the right to choose their own religion.
Second, kings can’t just do as they please,
because people have natural rights to liberty, property and life,
and hence need to be asked for permission.
Third, parents should avoid punishing their children,
since the use of emotions to make them behave well
can make them sensationalist.
Instead, they should allow their children to be guided by thoughts.
Locke’s idea on religion and democracy
became the foundation of most liberal societies.
His thoughts on education, however,
may have been even more influential.
Locke understood that most people doubt new ideas,
without any other apparent reason than them being uncommon.
However, teaching children how to think rationally and all for themselves works.
但是 教育孩子如何理性思考 如何为自己思考 是有用的
Education is therefore the key
to freeing society from political and psychological tyranny.
And his book, Some Thoughts Concerning Education,
became a parenting guide to that world.
The book was originally written to help his friends
to raise their son Edward to become a virtuous adult,
the ultimate goal of education.
Locke defined virtue as a combination of self-denial and rationality,
because we need to control our desires to think clearly.
He proposes four main ideas to help Edward.
First, newborn babies’ minds are like a blank slate,
also known as “tabula rasa.”
All knowledge comes from our perception
which then leaves imprints on that blank slate.
Because a child is highly sensitive to new experiences,
even the smallest association of ideas can have lasting consequences.
If you let a foolish maid convince Edward the goblins came out at night,
darkness shall forever frighten the boy, Locke warns.
Second, body and mind develop together,
which is why Locke advises
to nurture Edward’s physical needs as much as his mental ones.
He recommends a plain and simple diet,
他还建议 男孩要强壮身体 就要吃清淡的饮食
such as fry bread and a small non-alcoholic beer, to make the boy strong.
Rich or spiced foods should be avoided,
as they are too tempting for the boy’s delicate mind.
To toughen the young body,
abundant sleep on a hard bed is ideal.
Exposing Edward to harsh conditions such as cold baths
protects him from the common cold.
Third, learning should be pleasant.
If children find academic education exciting
and can choose what they like for themselves,
they would then apply themselves to it industriously.
To learn reading, Locke suggests games.
This self-directed approach to learning
allows the parent to discover and nurture their child’s natural talents.
Punishment should be avoided,
as it can break a child’s spirit,
and it teaches the wrong values.
To secure the best education,
he urges the parents to hire a tutor
rather than send Edward to school.
Fourth, habits always trump rules.
So parents should help their children establish clear routines,
and aim to become role models of rational thinking.
This will help Edward to learn how to control his desires
and think rationally to become virtuous.
Locke believed the good habits of thought prevail,
while rules which speak to the heart fail.
However, habits are important not only because they trump rules,
然而 习惯之所以重要 不仅因为习惯胜过规矩
but because rules consequently lead to rewards and punishments,
sensations that arouse feelings instead of reason.
To become a free thinker, a rationalist,
a child shouldn’t be driven by rules or incentives,
but by esteem and fear of disgracing oneself.
Locke’s thoughts on education were published in 1694,
and became an international best seller.
Along with Ruosseau’s Émile,
his book became one of the most influential texts on educational theory,
and perhaps history’s most important guide to parenting.
John Locke once said that
reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge,
it is thinking that makes what we read ours.
Since the same is true for videos,
we recommend creating the habit of short thinking breaks after watching something.
Afterwards, share your thoughts with others,
and in the same way, make new ideas forever yours.
同样地 吸纳新观点 使之永远成为自己的
Try that right now, and tell us what you think of Locke’s ideas.
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