Attachment Parenting is Philosophical

The following excerpts are from "The Philosophical Act," the second lecture from Josef Peiper's classic (and Catholic!), Leisure, the Basis of Culture. The first essay, Leisure, pertains to being at rest, not in flight from one's vulnerability. It's good stuff, if you have the time...

"The philosophical act is an act in which the work-a-day world is transcended." Attachment Parenting is philosophical in that it transcends behavior and the production of a specific "finished product" (the work-a-day world) in favor of the person as he is and his relationship to the rest of the world.

"Ancient philosophy says that this [the philosophical act] is the utmost fulfillment to which we can attain: that the whole order of real things be registered in our soul--a conception which in the Christian tradition was taken up into the concept of the beatific vision: 'What do they not see, who look upon Him, Who sees all?'" Attachment Parenting, because of its inherently vertical orientation in which our attachment to God makes possible our children's attachment to us, and which essentially, in charity, properly "attaches" us to God in every other creature, offers mutual fulfillment to both parent and child.

"Relationship, in the true sense, joins the inside with the outside; relationship can exist, where there is an 'inside,' a dynamic center, from which all operation has its source and to which all that is received, all that is experienced, is brought." In seeking to parent the whole child, body and soul, inside and out, intentions and not just external actions, Attachment Parenting is a means to true relationship.

"...spiritual knowing [is] the power to place onself into relation with the sum-total of existing things. And this is not meant as only one characteristic among others, but as the very essence and definition of the power [to parent]. By its nature, spirit (or intellection) is not so much distinguished by its immateriality, as by something more primary: its ability to be in relation to the totality of being. 'Spirit' means relating power that is so far-reaching and comprehensive, that the field of relations to which it corresponds, transcends in principle the very boundaries of its surroundings." This is why techniques and strategies are inappropriate within the context of a relationship. There are too many factors that must be considered. Philosophical principles provide a framework within which to have a fulfilling relationship based on the wisdom of the combined experience of the partners in that relationship.

"..the soul, basically, is all that exists." For this reason, the relationship between souls is tantamount, and takes absolute priority over the external, work-a-day activity of life.

"'Every other being possesses only a partial participation in being,' whereas the being endowed with spirit 'can grasp being as a whole.' As long as there is spirit, 'it is possible for the completeness of all being to be present in a single nature.' And this is also the position of the Western tradition: to have spirit, to be a spirit, to be spiritual--all this means to be in the middle of the sum total of reality, to be in relation with the totality of being, to be vis-a-vis de l'univers. The spirit does not live in 'a' world, or in 'its' world, but in the world: world in the sense of "everything seen and unseen"... This is precisely why our relationships won't "work" unless they are rooted in Christ (even if unconsciously), i.e., open to suffering the self-sacrifice that is inseparable from charity; nailed to the Cross.

[Those who have read Everyday Blessings, or other such books on "mindful" parenting will quickly see the parallels here.]

"For the stronger power of relating corresponds to a higher degree of inwardness; the power to relate is greater to the same degree as the bearer of that relation has 'inwardness' [mindfulness, awareness of vulnerability, humility]; the lowest power of relating not only corresponds to the lowest grade of 'inwardness,' wheras the spirit, which directs its relating-power to the sum total of being, must likewise have a corresponding inwardness. The more comprehensive the power of relating oneself to the world of objective being, so the more deeply anchored must be the 'ballast' [attachment] in the inwardness of the subject. And when a distinctively different level of 'world' is reached, namely, the orientation toward the whole [vertical orientation toward God], there too can be found the highest stage of being-established in one's inwardness, which is proper to the spirit. Thus both of these comprise the nature of spirit: not only in relation to the 'whole' of the world and 'reality,' but also the highest power of living-with-oneself, of being in oneself, of independence, of autonomy--which is exactly what has always been the 'person,' or 'personality' in the Western tracition: to have a world, to be related to the totality of existing things--that can occur only in a being that is 'established in itself' [not in flight from his vulnerability]: not a 'what,' but a 'who'--an 'I,' a person." For charity to be true, it must encompass ALL, unconditionally, each and every person in every moment, for better or for worse, and it must be felt by both, so that in dying to oneself for love of another, the other is likewise induced to die to himself for love of another. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is the cardinal rule of all relationships. A love which is not felt fails to penetrate the soul and therefore lacks "inwardness."

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Catholic Attachment Parenting

A philosophy of parenting modeled after the self-donative love exemplified in the relationship between Mary and Jesus.

1 Jn 4:18

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love."

Luke 1:17

" turn the hearts of the parents toward their children..."