The art of living well

In 335 BCE, Arisitotle set up his own school, the Lyceum, in a gymnasium on the outskirts of Athens. It was around this time, in his role as a teacher, that he is famously quoted as saying:

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”

It’s a pretty big statement! And as a father and an educator, personally I’m not entirely sure that my parental role excludes helping my son and daughter to learn to ‘live well’. I hope it is not true of my son and daughter that I “only gave them life”.

That said, it’s a powerful sentiment. In many ways, parents are, often, the foundation of a child’s wellbeing. But teachers play a huge role in shaping, guiding and inspiring the future lives of their students.

That shouldn’t be surprising though. Surely, the most succinct way to describe the fundamental purpose of education is: enabling students to ‘live well’. Isn’t that what schools are for?

Published by

David Bott

Hi, I'm David Bott, Associate Director of the Institute of Positive Education in Australia.

2 thoughts on “The art of living well”

  1. We’re living in an era which we need to boost the importance of both parents and schools’ responsibility to guide children towards happiness and wellbeing. Thank you for the reflection and for opening the debate 💭

    Like

    1. I completely agree Vanessa. And in our work, we see real impact when all stakeholders in a school community (executive management, teachers, students, parents) are coordinated and working together to support wellbeing. This integrated, whole-school approach isn’t easy but it makes real, sustainable impact possible.

      Liked by 1 person

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