When my oldest son, Noah, was just a couple of months old, I read this book called “That’s My Son” by Rick Johnson.
It’s a book about how to raise our sons up into men of character. The key to that phrase is that I am trying to raise a man. This makes the task more daunting than it already is!
In the first chapter, the author talks about Leonidas and his army of 300 Spartan men who defended Greece from the Persian army of 300,000 long enough to allow Greece to gather its army.
Leonidas knew that it was going to be a suicide mission, but he knew that the fate of Greece was at stake, and that the cause of Greece was much greater than himself, or even his 300 men.
Initially, looking at those 300 men, it seemed as though they were picked at random. When asked what the criteria was for choosing those men, he responded that it wasn’t that they were all seasoned warriors, or that they were the fastest or wisest men of Sparta.
He said that he chose his men based on the character of their wives and mothers.
He expected that they wouldn’t be returning home from this battle. He knew that the wives and mothers were going to be grieving for their sons and husbands, but he also knew that they would grieve courageously and they would stand strong in the face of their loss.
He felt that the rest of Greece would be watching these women and would either be emboldened by their reaction or discouraged.
The Spartans ended up holding the Persians off long enough that Greece was able to save itself, but the Spartan men lost their lives when they were betrayed.
This story shakes me up for two reasons.
First, am I going to be able to raise sons that are going to be able to realize that they are a part of something greater than themselves and would willingly sacrifice themselves in order to support that bigger cause? Second, am I willing to sacrifice them for that cause?
Am I ready to watch my sons be a part of that greater cause and let them go?