Tuesday, May 12, 2009

a slothful man doesn't roast his prey...and other thoughts

I've been working on my AIDS research (yes, still) and thinking about the relationships between deontological, consequential and "Virtue" ethics in the context of disease control.

I've also been preparing for my teaching assignment for kids camp next month, and it raises questions about the very same philosophical approaches. My topic is "Kindness," I have about 15 minutes to cover it, and my assigned text is "A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself." My lesson includes a story about a lady who is kind to an upset little girl, and then years later, what do you know, the woman is in a nursing home, and who should discover her but that little girl, all grown up, and she comes to visit her and takes care of her until she dies. In other words, it's a "what goes around, comes around," consequence-oriented basis for kindness.

The rest of the lesson tries to balance a little bit, but I still think it comes off like, "be nice to others because you'll get something out of it. And...oh yeah, it's the right thing to do because God was kind to us too." Wouldn't it be better if we encouraged kids to think about kindness primarily the other way around? God has been kind to us when he could have said good riddance, so be kind to others instead of giving them a pop in the nose, even if they deserve the knuckle-sandwich. And oh yeah, you'll probably find that what goes around comes around.

Personally I find that a lot more motivating. Otherwise, I weigh the relative merits of what I might "get" by being kind compared to the great satisfaction of telling someone what's what, and usually decide I can forgo the kindness.

Anyway...15 minutes to talk about kindness as a Christian virtue. What would you say?

On a different note, if you happen to need some motivation to get you through the work day, proverbs is always to the point:

"A slothful man does not roast his prey, b ut the precious possession of a man is diligence." (Prov. 12: 27)

Now get back to work, you slacker!


  1. I agree with your thoughts on kindness. I hope you can figure out how to switch around your lesson to reflect that!

  2. I am new to the blog thing so I didn't know where else to put this but I miss you Stephers!
    Love, Beckers