Saturday, July 5, 2008


"...Throughout this conversation the older man maintained a voice tender and solicitous with love. Nothing Alexandros could do would ever make this voice love him less or abandon him. Such is the peculiar genius of the Spartan system of pairing each boy in training with a mentor other than his own father. A mentor may say things that a father cannot; a boy can confess to his mentor that which would bring shame to reveal to his father." ~ Xeones, Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

If you like historical fiction, particularly ancient history, I would highly recommend this book, but that is not the point of the quote. I like how the character, Xeones, points out the wisdom of using mentors in the Spartan system. I think our society could gain from such wisdom. A mentor cannot replace a father or mother and certainly cannot diminish the necessity of a father or mother in the life of a young person, but a mentor can greatly augment the growth of a young man or woman. Some things are easier when received from a mentor than from a parent. Some things are easier to say to a mentor than to a parent. A parent has to focus on a wide range of child rearing responsibilities while a mentor can focus on special potential in a young person. The admiration of a mentor empowers a young person in a way that family cannot as much because this man/woman looked in from the outside noticed you out of any number of young people and believes in you when others might miss your potential. This simple kind of involvement can do wonders in the esteem and growth of a young person. Look, for example, at what Paul did for Timothy in I and II Timothy.

By His Grace,

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