But that time is not lost which is employed in providing tools for future operation: more especially as in this case the books put into the hands of the youth for this purpose may be such as will at the same time impress their minds with useful facts and good principles. If this period be suffered to pass in idleness, the mind becomes lethargic and impotent, as would the body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time. – Thomas Jefferson
In a world where personal electronic devices and television screens monopolize the attention of our youth, I am mindful of Thomas Jefferson’s suggestion that such diversions convey in some measure “useful facts and good principles.” In his day it was books (though his day and ours are not really that far apart) and in ours the selection of educational tools has widened considerably.
The challenge we face lies in sifting through the unending variety of tools to discover which convey principles of virtue. Those which do not are relatively useless as they encourage idleness of the mind. This idleness is the precursor to ennui and in turn, corruption.
When raising children it is important not to default to the expedient tools. Instead, parents should take the time to identify and promote the exercise of those tools which sharpen the mind and ground the heart in love and truth.