You check the ingredients in their food to make sure they are ingesting needless chemicals. You make sure they wear a mask when they go outside during a pandemic. You’re like every parent who ever lived: You’re concerned about their safety—what goes in their bodies, what happens to their tiny little bodies.
2000 years ago, Plutarch, quoting a philosopher named Xenocrates, talked about how concerned parents back then made sure their children wore ear protection when they wrestled, so as not to damage their cartilage. But isn’t it interesting, he asked, that we’re less concerned with what goes in their ears?
His point was that the same parents who were worried about disfigured ears were less vigilant about what their kids heard with those same ears. Marcus Aurelius made the same point during the pandemic of his time—that a plague can take your life but it can also destroy your character. Sure, you don’t want to get sick… but QAnon and these other conspiracies, the selfishness and stupidity we’ve seen—aren’t they just as dangerous as sickness?
So yes, protect your kids. Keep them safe. Lather them with sunscreen. Just make sure you’re also blocking the toxicity and vulgarity of the world as well. Keep them innocent while you can. Keep them away from chemicals, but also make your home a place free of vice and bigotry. Guard them from viruses of the mind, of the soul just as fervently as you protect them from bacteria and germs.
Because the former is just as deadly as the latter.