Are You a Good Parent?

Are You a Good Parent?

Greetings, we are Pierre-Emil and Solveig, the founders of Merlinstruction and the parents of two beautiful and curious children. The story behind why we founded Merlinstruction has to start with us becoming parents, and one of the hardest questions we ever asked ourselves, what does it mean to be a good parent?

The question is provoking and no-one we asked had the same understanding of what being a good parent actually meant, everyone bringing their own values to the discussion. For some, being a good parent was about providing materially for their children, for others it was about ensuring that their children shared their political beliefs. For many, being a good parent was the same thing as being a good person. When we asked people to reflect about their own parents the question became even more complex. Had our own parents been good parents, had they been bad? 

But more than anything, being a good parent was a long, very long, list of things to do or not do, often conflicting with each other and often an idea that being a Great Parent was all about sacrificing things for the children, and the greater the sacrifice the greater the parent, even when this was never true when our friends and relatives talked about their own parents and their sacrifices. 

Thus we reached the insight that good parenting is not something that one parent is, but something that a parent does. Being a good parent is not about being good, but about doing good, and attempts to prove your own inner goodness through symbolic gestures may be counterproductive to the doing part.

What does it mean to do good parenting?

From this framework of parenting as something that one does for someone else, we started to see what it was that we were meant to do if we wanted to achieve the outcomes we sought after for our children.

This led us to define the responsibilities of a parent as three core jobs: 

  1. The transmission of ethics
  2. The transmission of knowledge
  3. Transmission of culture. 

These three responsibilities form the bedrock of our mission at Merlinstruction. We believe that by concentrating on these three jobs, we will do good parenting, that is, raise children who are  morally robust, knowledgeable and who will lead meaningful lives.

Instill a strong ethical framework in children, emphasizing the importance of virtues and moral values.

In today's world, it is crucial to nurture individuals who possess a strong moral compass, who can think independently and resist the abuse of power. We are deeply concerned about the lack of virtue education, and the replacement of moral values with a nebulous "be nice" mantra that can often be equated to "be obedient." As parents we strive to instill a robust ethical framework in children, emphasizing the importance of virtues and moral values. We want our children to uphold their principles even in challenging situations, fostering resilience and moral courage. 

Cultivate a comprehensive understanding of a body of knowledge in children, both in theory and practice, fostering intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills.

We also advocate for an integrated knowledge system. As parents and founders of Merlinstruction, we are deeply concerned about the current state of our education system. We believe it is failing our children. Focusing too heavily on rote learning and standardized testing, it teaches a series of disconnected trivia which don’t bring forth the value of knowledge, and its potential to connect the learner with the world. At Merlinstruction, we strive to foster a comprehensive understanding of knowledge in children, encouraging intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills. We recognized the need for a holistic, interconnected system of education that would facilitate memory retention and provide a more profound understanding of various subjects simultaneously. 

Immerse children in their cultural heritage, imparting a collection of stories, rituals, and principles that guide a meaningful life.

We don’t want our children to grow up disconnected, their heads buried in digital devices, losing touch with the beauty of the natural world and the richness of their heritage. We could not stand idle while our children, and children everywhere, risked becoming estranged, their potential untapped, their lives lacking purpose and self-mastery.

We acknowledge the role of culture and shared narratives in creating meaning. The postmodern deconstruction of stories leads to a disconnection from meaningful experiences, resulting in nihilism, a lack of creative spark and depression. At Merlinstruction, we aim to immerse children in their cultural heritage, sharing a tapestry of stories, rituals, and principles that guide a meaningful life, to become autonomous masters of their own destiny, not just cogs in the machine.

Some may argue that we should not impose these responsibilities, moral values and demands on our children, suggesting instead that they should find their own path. However we see that this laissez-faire approach does not equip our children with the tools they need to understand the world independently. It is, in essence, an excuse to shirk a morally challenging responsibility and to abdicate our own moral duties to the state, an act that can only serve the most powerful and least accountable among us.

We believe in the potential of every individual to master their own life. Our mission is to nurture this potential, starting from childhood, through the transformative power of knowledge. We founded this company, Merlinstruction, to create tools that help parents in their own quest to raise knowledgeable, virtuous, and self-reliant individuals. 

Our first tool, the one that starts off this adventure of running a business for us, is the Family Time. The Family Time is a tool aimed at helping families better understand and manage their time together as well as create space to teach valuable lessons about household chores, the importance of yearly celebrations and rituals as well as a tapestry to tell the stories that connect us, both the life stories of our close relatives but also of those great cultural ancestors that came before us. Nothing would please us more than this tool helping you achieve your goal of raising children who are  morally robust, knowledgeable and who will lead meaningful lives.

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