Let’s do a simple thought experiment about parenting.
Suppose that a particularly wise parent were to give the venture some good thought well in advance, and were to devise some basic goals for the eventual outcome of his or her parenting efforts. Suppose that for every desired outcome for the child’s character, the deliberate parent had developed at least a broad-brushed plan to address such things—things such as the virtues and concepts and principles and habits and skills and behaviors that are generally supposed to be good ones for authentic adults to have. And suppose that over the years, such things were deliberately built into the child by the parent.
Now, with that scenario in mind, hold your finger there and turn over to another scenario in your mind. Imagine instead the parent who is in favor of all these same virtues, concepts, principles, habits, skills, and behaviors, but who has no deliberate plan for seeing to it that any of them are sure to make it into character of his or her child. Oh, yes, I do hope my child turns out to be honest! one might say, but would have no particular plan for instilling honesty in the child. And, I most certainly want my child to have good housekeeping habits, might well pass the lips of a parent who, despite the wish, has no particular plan in place for teaching–or even for modeling–such habits!
Let us note that the one parent is deliberate, where the other is simply wishing. The one is quite willing to have a good outcome, where the other is quite willing also to work for it!
I don’t suppose it should take a genius to figure out which parent is more likely to raise a child that is more successful in attaining to the most virtuous life possible. No, it’s rather obvious, isn’t it—just as the fruits of the deliberate gardener are so much superior to those of the casual gardener—and as the figures of the deliberate accountant are much more reliable than those of the casual accountant.
I suppose an entire book would be in order to cover this idea and all its particulars—the chief of which is probably the business of prioritizing which things should be taught and encouraged, and in what order. But I suppose that the mere mention of the idea can be generally useful to parents who find it convincing. And then they can get on with the business of figuring out the details—some of which they will do excellently, and some poorly—just as I do! Even so, I’m inclined to vote for deliberacy over mere wishing any day!