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Friendship: To Guard the Young from Straying

Friendship: To Guard the Young from Straying

“Friendship helps the young, too, to keep from error.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle is intent on showing how friendship is necessary in every stage and condition in life. With characteristic insight, he points to the precise need it fulfills in each....

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Love First Learned from a Lady

Love First Learned from a Lady

But love, first learned in a lady's eyes... Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost It has been said that woman specializes in loving. There is a profound truth in this. It is not that men do not know how to love or are not called to love. But women, especially in their...

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Making Good Play Happen Today

Making Good Play Happen Today

“Happy hearts and happy faces, Happy play in grassy places— That was how, in ancient ages, Children grew to kings and sages.” Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses What sounds like a sweet childhood ditty in fact points to one of the most significant, and...

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What Autumn Offers

What Autumn Offers

“Autumn sheds its varied windfalls.” Virgil, Georgics Nature is constantly prodding us, offering us something to humanize our life. Often we do not hear or notice. So, nature strives all the more, changing things up and trying to get our attention. This is always the...

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Being Liberal in Our Homes

Being Liberal in Our Homes

“...the liberal man will both give and spend the right amounts and on the right objects, alike in small things and in great.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics It is remarkable how one word can have such different meanings. The same word can point to something to which we...

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An Autumn Resolution: Fill Your Barn, Then Rest

An Autumn Resolution: Fill Your Barn, Then Rest

Let there be order and measure in your own work until your barns are filled with the season’s harvest. Hesiod, Works and Days Today is the first day of autumn. Seasons are a gift it has become more difficult to recognize and receive. As a philosopher I love how...

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Physical Home as Common Ground

Physical Home as Common Ground

My wife said to me, “John, we need to be here, together. This is our common ground.” Recently my wife and I were struck anew by a significant aspect of being-at-home, in the physical place. Our lives are given a center that grounds us and draws us together. Of late we...

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The Ultimate Key to Vision, and Relationship

The Ultimate Key to Vision, and Relationship

"But love... adds a precious seeing to the eye..." Shakespeare "Where there is love, there is vision." Thomas Aquinas We humans are made to see. We are also made to be seen. I think that often what really hurts us in our relationships is that we do not feel...

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Enduring Change

Enduring Change

“...shall I call it dying life or living death?” Augustine of Hippo, Confessions Change is difficult. This is not so obvious to the young—though they too surely crave stability, even if not so consciously. The more we mature and begin to achieve some things we have...

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Weeds and Life

Weeds and Life

“Daddy, why do weeds grow faster than carrots?” I was really struck by this question as my son and I worked together in the quiet of a beautiful evening in our garden. Surely all plants are good in some way and have their place in the natural order. But nonetheless...

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On a Wedding Day: A Glimpse of Marriage Itself

On a Wedding Day: A Glimpse of Marriage Itself

“One could find no other association more necessary nor more pleasant than that of men and women.” Musonius Rufus Last Saturday was one of those days around which the rest of life clusters—either as preparation or as consequence. I committed my beloved eldest daughter...

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An Empty Nest

An Empty Nest

How selfhood begins with a walking away, And love is proved in the letting go. Cecil Day-Lewis, Walking Away We have been observing the progress of a family of swallows in our barn for the last few weeks. Yesterday, the three young ones fledged. After spending many...

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