...It wasn’t a book about Sparta, but a book about a culture who took a lot from Sparta, and one of their heroes, Cato.
In the book about the great Roman politician and philosopher, the author talks about how Romans raised their sons.
No matter how wealthy, the boys wore rags and ran the streets learning the skills of survival, learning to be tough, training to do without the wealth their fathers may have earned but they hadn’t.The Romans taught their sons to be brutal, tough, and strong by putting them through struggles and pain so that one day when they faced the horrors of war, they wouldn’t crumble.
They were trained to be physically and mentally tough, for toughness would ensure personal and national victory.
A couple thousand years later, Theodore Roosevelt Senior had the same idea for his son who was afflicted with asthma at a young age, and bed-ridden as a result.
He didn’t want a soft son.
He saw no value in being weak and soft and so he challenged his son to build his body through training and action rather than submitting to his affliction - which was then deadly.
The result: a man of unparalleled action.
As I look at our daily lives, it’s pretty apparent that we’re not training to be tough, but training our sons and ourselves to be soft. And nothing good can come from a man who is soft. He will wilt in times of struggle, crumble in times of danger.
He cannot be depended on.
And so, a simple question that we all must answer and answer truthfully because one answer requires little from us, while the other demands a whole lot: