Wisdom from St. Basil the Great

“As for those things that are of service to you in this temporary life, do not regard them as great. Through concern about these things do not neglect the life that comes first for you, but be attentive to yourself, that is, to your soul. Adorn it and take care of it, so that all the filth befalling it from wickedness may be removed through attention, and all the shame due to evil may be cleansed away, but adorn and bright it with all the beauty that comes from virtue.” St. Basil the Great


Tiny Tim’s Toffee

I don’t normally use this blog to advertise products, but I felt the need to make an exception as we approach the coming holiday season.

For years my friend Joey has been working to perfect his family’s toffee recipe, to give people a healthy alternative to the mass-produced sweets available in shops. His product line, which takes inspiration from Tiny Tim in Dicken’s Christmas Carol, donates 10% of all profits directly to families with injured children, broken homes, or the ever increasing unemployed who have one or more children. (Read more about the inspiration behind the company here).

Tiny Tim’s Toffee has two product lines: Almond English Toffee, and Traditional English Toffee, which they also sell in stocking-stuffer sizes.

I’m not super into sweets, but when I tasted the Almond English Toffee earlier in the year, I knew I had to get behind it. I realized that I was tasting genuine English toffee–the crunchy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth sort that your grandmother might have made–for which all other candy is but an imitation.

Here is a picture Joey took of his Almond English Toffee.

There’s a reason this toffee tastes so much better than the sweets you can buy anywhere else. One obvious reason is the natural ingredients, like real butter and real sugar, instead of vegetable oil and corn syrup. Another reason is that these sweets are not made by robots in a factory, but by Joey and his family in a small commercial kitchen. Although I can’t prove it, I believe that personal touch comes out in the flavor. (Elsewhere I have shared my belief that food made with love can become conduits of divine grace.)

With the holidays approaching, I recommend Tiny Tim’s Toffee as the perfect Christmas gift for family and loved ones. Instead of buying gifts from big conglomerates like Walmart and Amazon, this will help support a small family enterprise. According to Entrepreneur, 68 percent of Americans would rather pay more to do business with a small business than a big one. I agree with that.

Don’t wait…order your Christmas gifts from Tiny Tim’s Toffee today!

Virtue and Attitude

In my article ‘Virtue and Classical Education‘, I contrast modern and ancient understandings of virtue. In the historic understanding, virtue includes actions but is rooted in attitude. And while attitude includes emotion, it also involves so much more, namely having dispositions tuned to reality in a special sort of way. To have virtuous attitudes and emotions is to instinctively recoil from what is base and disgusting. To have virtuous attitudes is to be the sort of person who is nourished by beauty instead of triviality, who instinctively has a fitting response to what is lovely and awe-inspiring. It is to be able to go out into the world with a sense of wonder towards all that is lovely and awe-inspiring, and to derive genuine enjoyment from what is good, true, and beautiful.

Moral Order

From my Colson Center article, “Moral Order, and Wisdom (Nominalism 6)

“One of the benefits of prayerfully meditating on God’s commands within the context of a life of obedience, is that we begin to see the fittingness of His laws instead of viewing them as arbitrary impositions on a neutral world understood separately from the Trinitarian God revealed in Jesus Christ. We begin to appreciate how God’s laws are the natural correlates to the is-ness of Christian. As a consequence, we are better able to take what the Bible says in one area, and apply the principles to other areas not directly addressed in scripture. This is because we are no longer simply looking at raw commands, but appreciating the moral order reflected in God’s commandments. This is essentially the task of wisdom as it has been practiced by saints and Christian mystics throughout history.”

Don’t Let the iPhone Destroy Your EQ

I re-listened to our 13th podcast this morning after a conversation with a parent on limiting children’s screen time. I’m reposting it here in case the tips are helpful for other parents. We looked at best practices for how to use technology strategically, in a way that does not invade our relationships or our EQ.

Bitter Discontent

I’m reading Augustine’s Confessions right now and was stuck by the following words, from when he is recounting the dissolute lifestyle of his youth.

“Thou wast always by me, mercifully angry and flavoring all my unlawful pleasures with bitter discontent, in order that I might seek pleasures free from discontent. But where could I find such pleasure save in thee, O Lord — save in thee, who dost teach us by sorrow, who woundest us to heal us, and dost kill us that we may not die apart from thee.”

The Beauty of Critical Thinking Skills

In Episode 4 of “The Robin and Boom Show,” I observed that our goal as parents is not just to help our children develop critical thinking skills, but to help them grasp the beauty of critical thinking. Here’s what I said.

“…we can show the beauty of critical thinking to our children if critical thinking is seen and taught and lived out as a subset of wisdom. It’s very possible to, and indeed necessary, to show our children that wisdom is beautiful. This comes across in the wisdom tradition of the Hebrew Scriptures where wisdom is portrayed as a beautiful woman and with metaphors that show that wisdom is not just the right thing to do – it’s not just the right thing to do to go and get wisdom – but this is what a beautiful flourishing life looks like. If as parents we raise our children with a holistic lifestyle where we’re living out what we’re teaching them, where we’re showing them that wisdom and critical thinking are part of the good life, part of what human flourishing looks like, then critical thinking can be situated within this larger context where they see it as beautiful.”