The man

“Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.”

I read on a Facebook group recently that a teacher at my junior high school gave a woman her “only D ever”. I’m not sure how often I remembered a grade the month after a reporting period. What statement is made about one’s sense of self, one’s sense of one’s world, if school grades are remembered half a century later?

Ignatius Loyola? Voltaire? Aristotle? This morning I’m not interested particularly in the source of the aphorism, but rather am ruminating over the resultant permutations if one were not given to the Jesuits for the first seven years of one’s life. What if one were instead given to CBS, ABC, and NBC? Is the significant descriptor for what is handed over always “man” or “woman”? Might it perhaps be more accurate to say “and I will give you the consumer, and I will give you the subject, and I will give you the compliant vessel,” or other variations?

I continue to read M.R.D. Foot, in between other volumes. He has me thinking about courage, about cowardice, commitment, curiosity, perseverance, laziness, dishonesty to others but more importantly one’s self. How much of this has been baked in by age seven? How reasonable is it to expect qualities that have rarely if ever been shown? How ingrained are some of us with a Roman Catholic concept of redemption which causes us to continue to look hopefully for qualitative change where this cannot be a realistic expectation?

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