New Philosopher

Giving birth to difference

Creating a human being means contending with life’s disappointing byproduct: ‘difference’. Our odds of success in our role as creator depend on our willingness to let our creatures differentiate, detach, grow, and become independent. For most of us, handling difference gracefully – what is sometimes called loving someone unconditionally – is learned. In my case, this meant that, after a decade of teaching, I would become a student again. My son and teacher is five years old, and it wasn’t until kindergarten that he began to register as radically different from me, and, like a newborn again, as radically alive.

He knows that I don’t approve of him eating the

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