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Little Sprouts and the Dao of Parenting: Ancient Chinese Philosophy and the Art of Raising Mindful, Resilient, and Compassionate Kids (Hardcover)
A philosopher and mother mines classic Daoist and Confucian texts of Chinese philosophy for wisdom relevant to today’s parents.
The ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius compared children to tender sprouts, shaped by soil, sunlight, water, and, importantly, the efforts of patient farmers and gardeners. At times children require our protection, other times we must take a step back and allow them to grow. Like sprouts, a child’s character, tendencies, virtues, and vices are at once observable and ever-changing.
A practical parenting manual, philosophical reflection on the relationship between parent and child, and necessary response to modern stereotypes of Eastern parenting, Little Sprouts and the Dao of Parenting reconsiders cultural definitions of success and explores how we might support and nourish young people. Engaging deeply with foundational Daoist and Confucian thinkers, Georgetown philosopher Erin Cline offers accessible, provocative musings on key parenting issues. She reveals how ancient Chinese philosophers encourage surprisingly modern values—a love of nature and of learning, mindfulness in everyday interactions, an embrace of disabilities and diversity, and the power of performing rituals with reflection—and relates these to concrete parenting practices, whether celebrating special occasions or finding a child’s unique talents and gifts.
Little Sprouts shows how—through the nurturing efforts of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and teachers—we can strengthen innate virtues of compassion, generosity, and individuality in our own tender sprouts. With an engaging and intuitive approach, Cline offers a balanced philosophy that helps us grow into better parents of joyful, fulfilled children.
About the Author
Erin Cline is a professor of comparative ethics at Georgetown University, a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and a mother of three. The author of four books that explore Chinese philosophy and theology, she lives in Washington, DC, with her family.
A deeply inspiring work about what classical Chinese philosophy can teach us about the art of parenting. This is a book that should be read and taken seriously by all parents and by anyone interested in nurturing the generations to come.
— Michael Puett, coauthor of The Path
Erin Cline illustrates an ancient wisdom on the craft of parenting, which is not about being a soccer mom or a tiger mom, but flowing with the Dao. We nurture our little sprouts to grow and fill their own beautiful pots.
— Robin R. Wang, author of Yinyang
Erin Cline has produced a profoundly personal, powerful, insightful, and elegant study showing how classical Chinese thought can help us nurture and raise more mindful, aware, intelligent, and compassionate children. This is a brilliant book, overflowing with wisdom, solidly grounded in classical sources that are astutely and creatively applied to a broad range of contemporary cases.
— Philip J. Ivanhoe, author of Confucian Reflections
Drawing from the best of Chinese philosophy, Erin Cline gives us antidotes to offset the intense pressures we face by showing us how to cultivate awareness, inquisitiveness, and empathy in the details of everyday life—birthday parties, walks, and even technology.
— Becky Yang Hsu, coeditor of The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness