In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 21, 2006 / 23 Nissan, 5766

Rediscovering Thumos

By Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I am at a car dealership with a four-year-old boy in tow. He is in an open space, arms outstretched, spinning circles with wild abandon.

What I am watching may well be a glimpse of thumos.

Thumos (thoo-mos') is an ancient Greek term for a state of being best described as spiritedness. It was a concept familiar to Plato and Aristotle and the Greek epics, but it is less familiar to us moderns. To complicate matters, ancient Greek does not translate easily into modern English.

Biblical literature interprets thumos as anger. Thumos may have a negative and destructive side, but there is a positive side as well - energy, courage and creativity.

Thumos may emanate from the mind, the heart, or sheer physical strength. It is a spiritedness that can be fraught with risk and danger, as demonstrated by the boy now spinning dangerously close to the corner of a salesman's desk.

The ancient Greeks were not the only ones who witnessed thumos. We have seen it as well, but have not always put the name with the face.

Thumos refined would be Ronald Reagan in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie shouting, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Thumos untethered would be Teddy Roosevelt as (pick one) rancher, Rough Rider, naturalist, explorer, historian and politician.

Thumos in uniform would be an amputee who was wounded in Iraq and now requests permission to return.

Thumos exploited as an advertising schtick would be The Marlboro Man. He is rough and rugged, and dares anyone to snicker if he happens to have a low-fat latte in that tin cup sitting by the fire.

The ancients saw thumos as an inner state that was served best by being marshaled into the virtue of courage.

Suppose that instead of directing thumos into something positive, we sat on it, squashed it and made every attempt to extinguish it. Such strong spiritedness would not merely dissipate into the galaxies. So, where would it go?

At an early age, it could go to the principal's office or even the doctor's office. Thumos unrefined could find a place in the streets, in gangs and eventually in prison. Then again, maybe all the excess thumos just sits around growing fat and frustrated.

The fact that our boys and young men are shrinking in numbers on achievement scales has been so thoroughly documented as to be (yawn) ho-hum. One key to unlocking this trend may be found in understanding and accommodating thumos.

The raw energy of thumos in a young child needs a basic that has been been steadily disappearing in recent years. That basic is recess. Thumos demands movement, fresh air and wind in the face. Thumos needs space, unstructured play, forays into the wonders and hazards of nature, hands-on science, and appropriate times and places to simply be loud.

We offer safety and security while thumos yearns for the unknown and unpredictable. Thumos wants to dig in the dirt and we ask kids if they need more anti-bacterial hand gel. We say meet your mentor when thumos hungers for heroes.

I'm not advocating a manufactured macho. I'm advocating recognizing a child's natural wildness, and then training it and channeling it into marvels like courage and creativity.

The raw quality of thumos can be found in entrepreneurs, inventors, builders, researchers, painters, designers, and thinkers and doers in every arena of life.

Considering the sagging state of boys, now may be the time to rediscover thumos.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.


© 2006, Lori Borgman