“When someone inquired of him what children should learn, he said: ‘What they will also use when they become men.’” – Plutarch, On Sparta
How often do we hear about people these days talk about Courage, Temperance, Justice, Wisdom? Imagine how better our world would be if more people lived these virtues.
In his 2019 book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse, Charlie Mackesy captures timeless ideas for children and adults to learn.
“What do you think is the biggest waste of time?”
“Comparing yourself to others,” said the mole.
As Plutarch wrote about Agis, Son of Archidamus (427-400 B.C.), he described succinctly the Spartan approach to courage and how they dealt with fear.
“He remarked that the Spartans do not ask how many the enemy are, but where they are.”
Over 2,000 years later, we and the children we raise are still dealing with fear.
“Imagine how we would be if we were less afraid.” – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
Fear can be motivating or it can be paralyzing. How we train, how we prepare, how we act helps determine our relationship with fear and our ability to summon our courage.
Doing things that make you uncomfortable or scare you are necessary. Notice the key word – you.
It is not about anybody else. It is about living your best life. It is about being your best version of yourself. It is about leading by example.
For children, young workers, and seasoned Professionals, it is important to know how to lead and follow. We know this now, Plutarch knew this when he documented the lives of the Spartans who came before him.
When asked what form of training was most practised at Sparta, he said: ‘Understanding of how to take orders and to give them.’
The attributes of good humans are no different than what is needed for good kids to turn into good men and women.
Skills, technical or otherwise, can be learned. Facing your fears, having courage, avoiding comparison, being reasonable, seeking wisdom are much harder to teach.
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