Plutarch lives on

Empty stands at the marathon finish line.

Last evening the mayor announced the cancellation of this year's New York City Marathon.

His announcement came a few days after Hurricane Sandy wiped out parts of the city and one day before the race was scheduled to be run.

After we sighed with relief, my family talked about how the decision was made. We talked about leadership, voicing opposition, listening.

We talked about the need to be firm and decisive during crisis, yet flexible and willing to change direction.

What happens when leaders and the people don't agree, we asked each other. What would happen with a different decision? How important is timing? What's the best way to communicate?

And, as we talked, I saw that our Plutarch studies influenced us and how we approached the news story.

We are in the habit now, thanks to Plutarch and Anne White's study guides, to examine the idea of leadership and talk about what qualities are essential or detrimental to leaders. We consider context and character. We notice, think, and talk, and sometimes disagree. I'm grateful for the habits we've honed by spending time with Plutarch and the leaders he wrote about.

I should note that our first attempts at Plutarch were not successful, but that's another blog post. For now, on Day 3 of my Gratitude Project, I'm grateful we stuck it through our initial struggles with Plutarch.


  1. We often find ourselves talking about the qualities of our leaders as well. It this characteristic of him as a man or not? Should he have done that?

    We're Plutarch lovers here as well.

    Glad you and your family are safe. xx

  2. I cannot wait... LOL, no, truly, I can wait but I storage that anticipation and thrill of engaging in this kind of discussions.

    Many wonderful things do not work at first, don't you think. I am looking forward to reading that post.

    I have had a similar experience with Pilgrims Progress. Right now we are with Little Pilgrims Progress, but I do know it will work in a little time. We are at peace with the story, becoming familiar, and mom is ready to delight in the language. I loved it, but loathed to read it to burnt out because of other reason girls, one who is not having to listen, and another one tired of all the narration and who frankly was overwhelmed. For difficult authors and books, space to breathe in has to be made, love has to come to a boil and simmer, sometimes you have to freeze them and when you thaw them, the second time is perfect. Flavors have macerated and the feast is greatly appreciated.

  3. Silvia - You're right that many wonderful things don't work at first. (Maybe that's part of what makes them wonderful?)

    And I should mention that our "deep discussion" about leadership also included tangents that weren't so deep. :)

  4. With Jeanne, both points--glad to hear that you are safe, and also that Plutarch can still be relevant!

  5. Oh, I'm so glad that you mentioned that Plutarch did not go well at first. This is our first year and my daughter is not "on board." I will continue and have faith that it will bear fruit. Charlotte Mason has been right so far...

    I have to confess that much of my daughter's bad attitude about leaders and authority figures has come from me. Me and my big, fat, cynical mouth. It's painful to realize how I've shaped my children's attitudes with my negative personality traits. If only the bad traits would slide off or evaporate and only the good ones would stick! Sigh. I think I need to study Plutarch as much as my children do.

  6. Tracy, well, the truth is that some of our leaders deserve our cynicism! :) But, you are so right that Plutarch is worthy for us to read, not just for our children. I think you'll enjoy the studies. I'm completely surprised at how much I enjoy them (and am sometimes very humbled by them when I recognize some negative traits in myself. I hate when that happens, lol!).