September 20, 2019
Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.
This post is dedicated to Michael Francis Troy (October 3, 1940-August 3, 2019).
The important role that teachers play in students’ lives is well documented. As children move through school, teachers’ responsibilities include instruction, comfort, and guidance to young students. I can name a number of teachers who greatly influenced my thoughts and ideas and I am grateful for them all. However, as students age, they spend less and less time with teachers. While elementary school places a student with a single teacher for a full day, middle school, high school, and university move the student toward one-hour classes. This evolution is meant to make the student more responsible and independent. Also at this time, children often increase participation in extracurricular hobbies, whether it be sports, music, volunteer opportunities, or group activities. Oftentimes, the child will spend a great deal of time in these extracurricular activities, which means that they will interact with a coach or leader with higher frequency than with a typical teacher. These people bear such an incredible responsibility during the students’ very formative years, often filling the role of mentor and/or counselor.
As a student and athlete, I often identified with a stoic-like mentality, probably due to my own mentor. For this reason, I have chosen quotes from Epictetus as a way to celebrate and underscore the importance of those extra-special mentors in our lives, many of whom are volunteers. A society grows great because of leaders who give back to the community in these very meaningful, but often dismissed, roles. Thanks to all the mentors, coaches, music instructors, group leaders, volunteers, and counselors who inspire our youth!
All quotes are from Epictetus’ Discourses, Book III, (translated by George Long).
~ “Adorn your will, take away bad opinions.”
~ “The only contest into which he enters is that about things which are within the power of his will; how then will he not be invincible?”
~ “Do not desire many things, and you will have what you want.”
~ “Examine a little at last, look around, stir yourself up, that you may know who you are.”
~ “God says, ‘Give me proof that you have duly practiced athletics, that you have eaten what you ought, that you have been exercised….’ Then do you show yourself weak when the time for action comes? Now is the time for the fever. Let it be borne well. Now is the time for thirst, bear it well; now is the time for hunger, bear it well. Is it not in your power? Who shall hinder you? The physician will hinder you from drinking; but he cannot prevent you from bearing thirst well: and he will hinder you from eating; but he cannot prevent you from bearing hunger well.”
~ “Practice sometimes a way of living like a person out of health that you may at some time live like a man in health.”
~ “[I]t is impossible that a man can keep company with one who is covered with soot without being partaker of the soot himself.”
~ “[F]ix your opinions and exercise yourselves in them.”
~ “Correct the child, improve him. In this way even when we are grown up we are like children. For he who is unmusical is a child in music; he who is without letters is a child in learning; he who is untaught, is a child in life.”
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