Monday, March 21, 2011

We aren't Spartans for a Good Reason

by Melissa Jagears

Ok, so I'm probably the only person given the topic of Encouragement and thinks: "Plato's Republic's history on the Spartan culture could work."

If anyone out there reading this thinks, "Oh, I can totally see that." Then I want to meet you, my long lost twin. Anyway....

I was fascinated when reading Republic last year with the forms of government covered, but especially the Spartans. They were an oligarchy (a rule by the few) but an interesting one. Most oligarchic cultures that I know of chose the elite by race or descent. But the Spartans attempted to see from infancy who would be the strongest. To see each human by their inner worth. (And if they were judged unworthy they were killed, so eugenics basically.)

But even more fascinating was the children were taken away from their parents to be molded by the citizens who were deemed best for educating different types of children. The government officials tried to use everyone's natural skills to the state's advantage, and that included whoever had the best parenting skills would be chosen to parent other people's children.

So, here's the encouraging part: No one has every tried to set up this system again in the long ages that have passed since Sparta was destroyed.* Besides this one hiccup in history, I think mankind has realized that there is nothing better than parents (be it single, adopted, biological, etc.) for raising a child.

So if you've sacrificed to stay home with your children, don't let anything make you feel poorly for that decision. Deep down, in all of our hearts, we know that no one can raise children better than a parent who loves them. And if you are sacrificing something to give your children more of your time, attention, and direction, than you are the best person in the whole world to raise them because you love them most.

1 John 3:16- This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

The person who sacrifices the most for another loves them the most. Besides Christ dieing for my children to offer them eternal life--the ultimate Love--I am the one who is willing to sacrifice the most for them; therefore, I am the one that loves them most. Other relatives, day care workers, teachers, babysitters, maybe even some government workers may love my child, but they will never love them like me.

So if you are struggling against familial or societal pressure to get "a real job" or whatever it is, go with your parental instincts. You know what is best for your child, and if that means you plan to give up financial comforts, social status, etc. to give them more of you, then I want to encourage you by saying:

"You're right. Persevere. We aren't Spartans for a good reason."

*I do not claim to be an exhaustive historian, if a culture later in history tried to set up a Spartan-like oligarchy, I'm ignorant of it.


  1. Hmmm, I have to say that I had never thought of it that way before! ;) But it is interesting non-the-less.

  2. That's a really interesting conclusion. I liked it, and I don't think I'll ever think of Sparta the same again.

  3. Good job Melissa!
    Anyone who tells a stay-at-home mom to get a real job, has never had one. :)