Becoming a Good Person and Leading a Good Life
How do we raise children to become good people and lead good lives? This course explores these questions. We’ll focus on four main pillars of a good life—morality, love, hope and purpose—and on the capacities children need to develop to be moral, to engage in gratifying, ethical romantic relationships and to find hope and purpose. How do we develop in children and teens the capacities, for example, to be caring, justice-minded and courageous? How do we develop in them the capacity to love in ways that nurture and expand both those they love and themselves? How do we help them develop the capacity for hope that is grounded in hard realities—what Duncan Andrade calls “critical hope”? How do we help them develop the capacities to find, if not a single purpose, goals that are energizing, organizing and meaningful? We will examine how school and home environments, as well as major societal trends, are shaping the development of these capacities, as well as concrete school and home-based strategies for cultivating these capacities in children. We’ll also explore the challenges and opportunities in cultivating these capacities in children in these anxious, uncertain times, when our country is dealing with a pandemic, fierce political divisions, persistent racism and threats to our democracy.