Brook, Gorlin, and Girn on Parenting

Yaron Brook, Gena Gorlin, and Rebecca Girn discuss parenting.

Yaron Brook recently hosted psychologist Gena Gorlin and education attorney Rebecca Girn to discuss parenting from an Objectivist perspective.

They discussed the extraordinary value of witnessing a little person grow up and develop.

They also discussed how parenting can go wrong. Girn described how some parents treat their children as subordinate to their lives in some way, as by expecting a child to carry on the family business or to pursue the values the parent missed or neglected.

The three confronted the challenges of parenting. Girn said, “I think you have to want it [parenting] in the fullness of what it actually is, and it’s not always pretty or romantic.”

All three waited a period of years after getting married to have children and discussed the advantages of doing so.

Parenting can be a springboard to self-development. Girn said parenting “pushes you tremendously as a person; you really live up to your children and try to be your best self because of your children.”

Gorlin added, “When it becomes the kind of hardship that you’ve embraced because you’ve done some of that thinking and simulating ahead, and have realized, yeah, this is a worthy challenge, then all of the complexity and all of the struggle becomes inspiration, it becomes fodder for growth.”

People who find themselves thrown into parenting also can succeed, Gorlin explained, “depending on, at that moment in time, how do they think about it and embrace it, and do they lean in, and does it really blossom into a great love and major life project for them.”

Another benefit of parenthood is reconnecting with the world through a child’s eyes. Brook said, “Children actually help you start noticing things about the world that you take for granted.”

Girl aptly described the major goal of parenting: “The simple thing is, you want your child to grow up. You want your child to be independent. You want him to be the person that he wants to be, that he feels fulfilled in life. . . . What I’m trying to do as a parent is give [children] everything that they need to be able to make good choices that are authentic, independent choices, and to set them up for success.”

Girn also offered a great insight on “virtue education” for young children: “The issue for me with my children is I want them to have values. . . . I want them to have things that they love and care about. . . . I want them to connect with something and be purposeful about it, and kind of lose themselves in it. And I think the seeds of virtue are all kind of wrapped up in that.” She said overt “morality training” at a young age “can go down a really bad path of basically indoctrination.” Morals, then, should be taught mostly implicitly and through modeling at a young age.

An especially great segment (starting at 1:41:53) addresses “authoritarian” parenting versus the fostering of self-discipline.

Previously, Brook interviewed Matt Bateman (Gorlin’s husband) on education. Elsewhere, Bateman and Ray Girn (Rebecca’s husband) talk about education and agency.

All three people approach parenting and their careers from the perspective of Objectivism, Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Yet one need not have knowledge of those ideas or general agreement with them to appreciate the speakers’ insights, which apply broadly. The entire discussion is well worth watching for potential and current parents.