Erin Cline

Little Sprouts and the Dao of Parenting: Ancient Chinese Philosophy and the Art of Raising Mindful, Resilient, and Compassionate Kids

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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.
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229 printed pages
Original publication


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