September 2019: Letter from the President
Upon my return from a quiet summer vacation on a farm in Spain, I awoke to the constant, barrage of alarming news highlighting events of conflict, violence and despair around the world. “How,” I thought, “can I best prepare my high school junior for the seemingly insurmountable challenges of our planet?” (This is, of course, the very question we ask ourselves at HealthCorps every day).
I happened on a quote from Marcus Aurelius (the essential Stoic and last of the Five Good Roman Emperors). “It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.” I spent the rest of the weekend diving into Stoicism and the immediate, practical application of this ancient Greek school of philosophy in our modern world.
Much of what we teach at HealthCorps (how to build resilience, purpose, regulation of emotions, gratitude, reflection and long-term goals) is stoicism. Like the Stoics, we also believe that young people need to practice their stoicism on a daily basis in order to achieve the skill level required to maintain happiness while navigating any waters – troubled or calm.
The Salzgeber brothers in New Jersey recently did us all a favor by producing a great book called “The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence and Calmness” I downloaded their “20 Stoic Exercises for Impressive Self-Improvement” and presented it to my 15 year-old, Liberty a couple of days before the start of school.
“Oh Mom. You always give me such weird presents,” she sighed. “Sometimes, we need to look into the past to find the way forward,” I replied.
That night, I noticed she had read up to Exercise 12.
As HealthCorps moves forward with its ambitious three-year plan, we will continue to incorporate more time-tested stoic wisdom to prepare young Americans for all that comes there way – because, ultimately, knowledge is sharper than the mightiest sword.
Yours in a Common Cause,
President, HealthCorps Inc.