As a woman becomes a mother, there is an overflow of emotional battles that she will worry about for her child. One of the strongest being, what happens when they are different? The fear of socialization due to differences. In this article, a mother speaks to her preschool aged son about his birthmark that he gets picked on at school for. His birthmark is located on his neck roughly “the shape of South America” as his mother proclaims. It is a raised birthmark that is only removable from a few surgeries, “it’s rooted deep into his skin; it’s a part of him,” the dermatologist stated.
As a child just beginning his educational lifespan, everyday school is “bad” because the kids pick on him for something he was simply born with. Weeks go by and suddenly the teasing seems to stop, what exactly happened?
Aristotle argues that virtues are a state of character, but how are 3 year olds supposed to understand virtue? Is it one of those inner-workings that we are just born with and grow with overtime? Or are they observable by the environments that encompass our daily lives and what we gain from those insights? Or perhaps, is it both?
He defines virtues as moral (and/or intellectual) skills (morals are seen as a state of character after all) that have proper relations to passions. How does a virtuous argument relate to the preschoolers?
As children learn and grow as individuals, they are often taught with what is “right” and what is “wrong” defined by moral characters usually set out by their parents because after all, these skills have to be learned from somewhere. In this case of the boy with the “poo-poo” birthmark, the kids are exhibiting “bad” state of characters. Bad as in rude, judgmental, negative, and the list can continue.
But does that necessarily mean that they have a “bad” state of character? Or is it because they haven’t had exposure to enough to know what is “right” and what is “wrong”?
These children are a perfect example of showing that virtues are a learned object. An individual isn’t born knowing what they should and should not do, but rather they learn from a very young age on HOW to become a virtuous individual.
And the children do just that because once they got over the initial shock of this boy looking “different”, then they were able to add skills (whether they knew it or not) to become more virtuous individuals because they learned acceptance of differences. Learning and growing moral and intellectual skills to advance an individuals state of character is the epitome of Aristotle’s argument, which is largely demonstrated by a group of 3 year olds now only if grown adults could do the same.