Make a Philosophical Deal With Your Kids

Jinmin Lee
3 min readJun 27, 2022

Imagine this scene:

Parent: We’re going to get some groceries.

Teen: So what?

Parent: I don’t want this kind of attitude. You’re coming with us. Now.

Teen: But I’m in the middle of my Valorant match! If I leave in the middle of the game, they’re gonna suspend my account for a few hours!

Parent: *unplugs computer and brings annoyed teen to the mart*

Now imagine this:

Parent: We’re going to get some groceries.

Teen: Is it implied that I must help you?

Parent: Of course. You’re coming with us. Now.

Teen: But, in The Genealogy of Morality by Frederich Nietzche, those with the Master Morality should strive for characteristics like power, domination, desire, wealth, and political influences. Going to the mart with you means that I have to sadly forsake these qualities for the sake of altruism, a characteristic of the Slave Morality. Do you really wish that I should choose the weaker path, only for such petty activities as shopping?

Parent: Just stay at home.

What Do Parents Get in Return?

Usually, parents just want the best for their kids, and this means that there are some things that they usually DO NOT LIKE TO SEE. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Kids looking at their phones the entire day
  2. Being too dependent on instant gratification
  3. Having no interest in anything other than the passive consumption of social media

Philosophy is like the panacea to all of the above:

1.) Reading a lot of books by philosophers just before I slept helped me get into the habit of reading every day. Also, philosophical books usually use difficult language, which actually helped me enjoy non-philosophical books even more. I found myself reading both fiction and non-fiction much more alongside the philosophical books because they suddenly felt like a treat. Here is an example of philosophers’ difficult English:

“Nor is geometry, when taken into the assistance of natural philosophy, ever able to remedy this defect, or lead us into the knowledge of ultimate causes, by all that accuracy of reasoning for which it is so justly celebrated” (Hume 21)

Trust me, traditional novels feel like LUXURY after reading this.

2.) A lot of philosophers also encourage a very long-term view of plans and ideas because they understand that big changes do not happen overnight. By reading a lot of philosophy books, this mindset will inevitably transfer to children, making them realize that instant gratification is only an obstacle to long-term plans.

3.) Philosophy always seeks to find or create meaning in everything, whether it be in the many years of life, activities, or simple ideas. People who pursue philosophy will get into the habit of questioning and creating significance in whatever they do. Avid readers of philosophy will abstain from activities that have no long-term purpose and instead focus on what matters to them.

Although this lesson would likely apply the most to parents, it shouldn’t be limited to a particular demographic. Instead, I believe that anyone can benefit from the advantages of philosophy mentioned above. If your little brother won’t leave your room even after you ask over a thousand times, you should offer him a philosophical book. Also, if you can’t stop yourself from scrolling through social media for 50 hours a day and feeling miserable that you achieved nothing during the day, try philosophy!

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Jinmin Lee

I dare to tell you how you should live life through stories from philosophy and classics