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What kids bring to conversations

What kids bring to conversations
What kids bring to conversations


This is an edition of The Wonder Reader, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a set of stories to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Sign up here to get it every Saturday morning.

“During most of my early adulthood, philosophy had little appeal to me,” Elissa Strauss wrote in 2022. “As long as I treated people mostly kindly, what did it matter what I thought about right and wrong, or the nature of knowledge or the universe?”

“Until, of course, I had my first child.” Strauss’s son Augie “wanted to know things”—including the sorts of things she couldn’t find much practical use for when she tried taking Philosophy 101 in college. Kids, she soon realized, are instinctive philosophers.

Today’s newsletter takes a look at how kids speak and how to speak to them in moments of curiosity, joy, and conflict.

On Talking With Kids

Want to Understand Socrates and Sartre? Talk With Your Kid.

By Elissa Strauss

A new book asks us to consider that children might have a natural aptitude for grappling with our deepest philosophical questions. (From 2022)

Read the article.

How a Negotiation Expert Would Bargain With a Kid

By Joe Pinsker

Some tactical suggestions for managing volatile, sometimes nonsensical negotiation partners

Read the article.

Is It Wrong to Tell Kids to Apologize?

By Stephanie H. Murray

Some parents argue that forcing children to say they’re sorry is useless or even harmful. The reality is more nuanced.

Read the article.

Still Curious?

Other Diversions


Courtesy of Bob Nuber

I recently asked readers to share a photo of something that sparks their sense of awe in the world. Bob Nuber, 68, from Chicago, wrote in: “Annual crane migrations, which endure despite centuries of habitat disruption by humans.”

I’ll continue to share your responses in the coming weeks. If you’d like to share, reply to this email with a photo and a short description so we can share your wonder with fellow readers in a future edition of this newsletter or on our website. Please include your name (initials are okay), age, and location. By doing so, you agree that The Atlantic has permission to publish your photo and publicly attribute the response to you, including your first name and last initial, age, and/or location that you share with your submission.

— Isabel


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