Love Whom You Rear (Οὓς τρέφεις, ἀγάπα)

Today’s Delphic Maxim seems at first glance to be the simple advice that a parent should love their children. But I think this advice is much broader than that: to rear also means to raise up like a building. It can apply to anything that starts small and grows: plants, children, livestock. Each of these require dedication and love to see them successfully mature.

Maturity brings with the idea of self-sufficiency: we want the things we love to continue on after our role has gone. It is here that I think the maxim can be seen in that broader context. Leaders can be seen as people who help raise up teams, tribes, nations, organizations from humble beginnings to lauded successes. In this sense, a wise person does not treat his subordinates as lower in stature. That is arrogance. Instead this maxim admonishes the wise to appreciate that they have been given the love and trust of those whom they lead: It is the way of righteousness to repay their trust with respect, kindness, sympathy and love.

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