Thursday, October 31, 2013

I never saw this sort of thing at Plato's

Childhood, therefore, should be kept far from all contact with flattery; let a child hear the truth, sometimes even let him fear, let him be respectful always, let him rise before his elders. Let him gain no request by anger; when he is quiet let him be offered what was refused when he wept. Let him, moreover, have the sight but not the use of his parents' wealth. When he has done wrong, let him be reproved. It will work to the advantage of children to give them teachers and tutors of a quiet disposition. Every young thing attaches itself to what is nearest and grows to be like it; the character of their nurses and tutors is presently reproduced in that of the young men. There was a boy who had been brought up in the house of Plato, and when he had returned to his parents and saw his father in a blustering rage, his comment was: "I never saw this sort of thing at Plato's." I doubt not that he was quicker to copy his father than he was to copy Plato! Above all, let his food be simple, his clothing inexpensive, and his style of living like that of his companions. The boy will never be angry at some one being counted equal to himself, whom you have from the first treated as the equal of many.
- From "On Anger" by Seneca
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