Promoting ARÊTE in our homes

What are concrete ways that you/we can do to promote ARÊTE and the Hellenic kosmotheasis?” was a question asked in one of the online fora that I am on. And that is something that bears thinking about. As I sit here at home, feeding my child her breakfast, I have time to think on this question. 

My first response is “Be the change you want to see”. We cannot promote arete in the world if we do not first promote it within ourselves. This can mean something as simple as engaging in an activity that we do not feel the actual urge to, because we NEED to. This means doing EVERYTHING in our lives with an eye to excellence in our lives. We need to be true to ourselves and not be afraid to do things that we are told are “unsuitable” for us because of someone ELSE’S view of “appropriate” behavior. If this means a woman doing things that are supposedly only suited to men (like excelling as a mechanic) or a man doing things that are supposedly only suited for women (like being a ‘househusband’) then that means doing those things to the best of our ability.

We must live the Hellenic worldview in our everyday actions as an example to others, especially children. We have to do this both when we are around those others or when we are alone — in order to make them habits of thought and action. This can include things like making daily offerings to the Gods or making preparations for work. It definitely includes doing things that our children can see, and participate in, thus encouraging them to follow our example. 

Although my daughter is too young to understand that I offer certain things on a daily basis, I know that she has seen me do it so often that when she does ask why, she will be asking why I do things that some of her friends’ parents do not. It means acting in an ethical manner at all times, even when punishing her, in order to instill a code of ethics into her so that self-honesty becomes ingrained. And when that is ingrained, teaching her to expand that out into all aspects of her life — especially in friendships — so that her actions reflect that inner Truth which she has discovered for herself.

To live a life according to the Hellenic worldview will not be easy, but it will be enriching in ways that we cannot expect. To live with ARÊTE is difficult, but the easy is rarely worthwhile in the long run.

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