My little one was not in the mood for our usual bedtime reading (Amulet, Narnia books, Lord of the Rings) and frankly, being a little cantankerous. So, I told her that we could either read Prince Caspian or daddy’s book. What’s daddy’s book. Plato, I said.
She was into it.
We had ‘met’ Plato in one of her Magic Treehouse Books and after that, I showed her a copy of some of Plato’s dialogues in the study. Now, I wasn’t reading that edition, but a slightly smaller one. I then grabbed a Dover Thrift Edition that contained Gorgias and Timaeus but that wasn’t it either. Finally, I found it. I showed her, written in neat cursive in black ink, was the name of her grandfather. I told her that meant this book was older than her father and once belonged her grandfather.
Then we read. Over two nights, we read Crito, a short dialogue between Socrates in his prison cell, awaiting execution and his friend Crito, who was encouraging him to escape (Crito and other friends of Socrates would bribe the guards and arrange travel).
The long and short of Socrates’ conclusion comes to something similar to favorite quote of mine from a fantastic adventure novel, The Prisoner of Zenda: ‘God doesn’t always make the right man king, but I am the king’s man and have eaten of the king’s bread.’
What I mean is that Socrates says that because he accepted his role as citizen of Athens, he must accept what comes with it, even when it’s justice comes to the wrong conclusion. Of course, by this time, she was asleep.