compositehiggs I saw Nussbaum speak about this recently and she got some very difficult questions from the audience. Even though Nussbaum nominally repudiates a purely virtue ethical position in her more recent work I think she still hews very close to that line, suggesting that emotional responses to external circumstances are unproductive compared to a cold blooded plan for a more just future.
Okay, she doesn’t sound so bad then. I wouldn’t mind asking her one of those difficult questions about why she may have at some point singled out Inuit in that way, though, hehe.
Definitely starting to veer off on to an interesting philosophical tangent here but it makes me think more about the thought I was playing around with already with anger as theatre as opposed to anger as a powerful motivator to confront injustice. Maybe a way to address that contradiction is to note that widespread social level injustice fosters an enormous subterranean reservoir of collective righteous rage that doesn’t come out in one’s personal life because most of us just want to be nice and go about our days, but under the right circumstances can be harnessed into things like revolutionary insurrection. And there are both good manifestations of that, like successful social movements won through violent struggle, and bad ones, as in when retributive justice crosses a line into violence as theatre or just pure sadism.
tapevulture Also I get mad at my kids when I say “don’t put the little screws from your construction set into the air purifier,” and they do that anyway. Then I have to take the air purifier apart and they have to go in time out
Actually I take it all back, you didn’t say anything about air purifier sabotage!! I’m kidding, but yeah, it sounds like you have a healthy relationship with anger, like what you’re feeling frustration about is not that your kids disobeyed a command or anything but that they created unnecessary work for you.
I suppose another thing kids are good at is experimentation, and a major way they experiment is provocation. That’s how they learn about social/interpersonal boundaries, by deliberately testing them. Social boundaries are abstract things and in some ways they don’t really exist to a kid until they can experience the consequences of either crossing them or actively respecting them.
If you wanted to try applying techniques from Inuit parenting, what’d you’d do is take moments like that where you see they are clearly about to choose to test a boundary you have set, and intervene by play-acting out the consequences of their actions as you feel and experience them. If they do it after being asked not to anyway, it’s your time to ham it up. Gasp in despair, go “ooooooh nooooooo!!! Screws in the air purifier, again!! boo hoo hoo,” Talk about how sad it makes you to have to fix the air purifier, show them how hard it is to open up the air purifier, lament how now the air is gonna be full of dirt while the air purifier is broken, and so on. Or even, if they do listen and they don’t do what you say not to, you can do an even more hammy routine but more about how relieved you are, how happy you are that your kids are so kind as to listen to their parent, because of how hard it is to fix the air purifier and how you love to breathe nice clean dirt-free air. Let’s not forget how meaningful positive reinforcement is too.
I guess the idea with these sorts of techniques is that it’s about working through that experimentation and decision making process with them in a way that is more hands-on with you, and about engaging their imaginations and being social, rather than being hands-on with the air purifier. They really do want to know what will happen if they do something like put screws in the air purifier, and as well they’re just as interested in doing things you say not to specifically because you said not to, so it’s about satisfying their natural curiosity without the frustrating extra chore for you after. Plus, your kids aren’t the only ones who can be having fun in a moment like this. For kids, playing and learning and having fun are indistinguishable from each other and playing with them can help guide that learning.
If all else fails, you could tell them about the tiny little bug monster who looks around the house for the lost bits of toys that a naughty kid put somewhere they weren’t supposed to, and how if the monster gets enough little bits of lost toys they’ll put it in everyone’s ears when they’re not looking, and then everyone will have little screws rattling around in their skull, forever…