Elderly Counsel and the Youth

“It befits a youth to respect his elders and to choose from there the best and most upright, upon whose counsel and authority he might depend. For the inexperience of early life ought to be ordered and guided by the good sense of the old.  It is especially at this age, moreover, one must guard against passions, and train one’s mind and body in toil and endurance, so that they might flourish when working hard at military and civil duties. Even when they wish to relax their minds and surrender themselves to enjoyment, young men should be wary of lack of restraint and mindful of a sense of shame.” Cicero, On Duties I. 122. eds. and trans. M.T. Griffin and E.M. Atkins (Cambridge 1991), p. 48. [Emphasis added]

Cicero encouraged the young to listen to their elders and be guided by good sense.  Notice Cicero’s strong concern for the restraint of passions and bodily training.  For those who lack restraint cannot properly perform their duties in society.



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