Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
C. To Junior
A CERTAIN friend of mine lately chastised his son, in my presence, for being somewhat too expensive in the matter of dogs and horses. “And pray,” I asked him, when the youth had left us, “did you never commit a fault yourself which deserved your father’s correction? Did you never? I repeat. Nay, are you not sometimes even now guilty of errors which your son, were he in your place, might with equal gravity reprove? Are not all mankind subject to indiscretions? And have we not each of us our particular follies in which we fondly indulge ourselves?”
The great affection I have for you induced me to set this instance of unreasonable severity before you—a caution not to treat your son with too much harshness and severity. Consider, he is but a boy, and that there was a time when you were so too. In exerting, therefore, the authority of a father, remember always that you are a man, and the parent of a man. Farewell.