A couple years ago, each night when I would put my 8 year old son to bed, he would bring up his concerns about our house catching on fire. I would tell him that it’s unlikely, but I couldn’t tell him that it was impossible. My assurance of a low probability wasn’t giving him the comfort he wanted. I realized later that what he needed wasn’t me telling him to not worry about it but an idea of what we should do in the case of a fire. Making him feel like there was a plan to follow is what would help him build a resiliency about such a possibility.
Aristo The Chaldean And The Resilient Mindset
Kids need to develop a resiliency mindset which can teach them a pattern to copy with any new worries, setbacks or difficulties that arise in the future. Aristo the Chaldean was a Stoic philosopher who lived in the second century BCE. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on what is within our control and letting go of what is not. This means that when faced with challenges, we should focus on finding solutions rather than getting bogged down by negative emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness.
Aristo believed that setbacks and difficulties are a natural part of life, and that we can learn and grow from them. Rather than avoiding challenges, kids can learn to embrace them as opportunities for growth and self-improvement. By developing resilience and a positive mindset, kids can learn to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
Additionally, Aristo taught that it is important to cultivate virtues like self-control, courage, and wisdom. By practicing these virtues, kids can develop the strength and resilience to face challenges head-on and emerge stronger and more resilient.
Ninja’s Must Premeditate Evil
Aristo discussed the concept of “premeditation of evils.” This is a practice where we mentally prepare ourselves for potential challenges or setbacks that may arise in the future.
Aristo believed that by anticipating and mentally preparing for potential difficulties, we can develop a sense of calm and resilience that will help us face them with greater strength and clarity. For example, if a child is nervous about an upcoming test, they can practice “premeditation of evils” by imagining potential scenarios in which they may struggle or make mistakes during the test. By mentally preparing for these challenges, the child can develop a sense of calm and confidence that will help them perform better on the actual test.
This practice can also help kids learn to let go of the fear of failure and focus on the process of learning and improvement. By mentally preparing for potential setbacks, kids can learn to see them as opportunities for growth rather than sources of anxiety or frustration.
Let’s say a child is afraid of getting lost in a crowded place like a mall or an amusement park. Aristo the Chaldean’s philosophy suggests that the child can mentally prepare for this possibility by imagining scenarios in which they may become separated from their parents or guardians. They can ask themselves questions like: “What would I do if I got lost? Who could I ask for help? Where would I go to find my parents?”
By mentally preparing for this scenario, the child can feel more confident and in control if it does happen. They may be less likely to panic and more able to problem-solve effectively. This can also help them learn to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being.
Of course, it’s important to note that the premeditation of evils is not about dwelling on negative possibilities or catastrophizing. It’s about being prepared for potential challenges and developing a sense of inner strength and resilience that can help us navigate them effectively.
Seneca Encourages Us to Seek Out Difficulties
Yes, another historical figure who espoused the importance of premeditation of evils was the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca. Like Aristo the Chaldean, Seneca was a Stoic philosopher who emphasized the importance of mental preparation for potential difficulties.
Seneca believed that we should not only mentally prepare for potential challenges but also actively seek out opportunities to test and strengthen our resilience. In his book “On Providence,” Seneca writes:
“Let us practice our strokes on the rough, and make the very difficulties we face help us to become better prepared. The mind must be given relaxation; it will rise improved and sharper after a good break. Just as our bodies, which are wearied with exercise, recover their strength with repose, so too our minds require a period of rest.”
Seneca believed that by intentionally seeking out challenges and difficulties, we can build up our mental and emotional resilience and become better equipped to face whatever life may throw our way. He also emphasized the importance of taking breaks and giving ourselves time to recover and reflect after facing challenges.
Overall, both Aristo the Chaldean and Seneca believed that the premeditation of evils is a key component of developing resilience and inner strength. By mentally preparing for potential challenges and actively seeking out opportunities to test and strengthen our resilience, we can become better equipped to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and fortitude.
Create a Challenge Scenario to practice the premeditation of evils:
- To play the game, each person would take turns coming up with a potential challenge or obstacle they might face in the future. For example, one person might say, “What would you do if you lost your phone?” or “What would you do if you missed the bus to school?” The other players would then take turns brainstorming solutions to the challenge.
- My son and I went through what we might do in the event of a house fire. We did a practice drill complete with a smoke alarm. I realized that he didn’t know what the smoke alarm sounded like. So now he knows what to do when he hears it, how he would get out of his room and where we would meet outside our house in the event of a fire.
- Encourage your child to think through potential scenarios that they may personally face in their lives, like getting lost or having a difficult conversation with a friend. By imagining different scenarios and coming up with practical solutions, the child can build up their confidence and resilience for when these challenges do arise.
- Another way to practice premeditation of evils is through journaling. Encourage the child to write down potential challenges they may face and to reflect on how they would handle them. This can be a helpful tool for building self-awareness and developing coping strategies.
For further discussion with kids about Stoic philosophy, be sure to check out Donald J. Robinson’s article “Stoicism For Children”. For teenagers, we have really enjoyed reading Lives Of The Stoics by Ryan Holiday and he devotes a chapter to Seneca.