Some people are lucky enough to look back at their childhood with affection for a time in life without much stress and anxiety. They might think of long hours spent playing in the backyard free of worry, or pursuing projects and relationships without apprehension or fear. Such tender memories are often in stark contrast to the lives many lead as adults, where stress and anxiety seem to dominate.
The fact that many struggle to be carefree in adulthood raises a number of interesting questions about the relationship between carefreeness and the good life. Is being carefree a special good of childhood? Is it something that confers meaning on the life of a child, without doing the same for adults? Or do adults need to be more carefree, and so be more like children, in order for their lives to go well? Most importantly, if carefreeness is indeed a necessary precondition for a good life, why exactly is that so?
As a parent of two young children, and someone who works on family philosophy, I have recently turned my attention to the question of what it means for childhoods to go well. Thinking about the goods of parental love and