“Crimes often return to their teacher.”SENECA, THYESTES, 311
Today’s wisdom in The Daily Stoic is very simple, and impossible to argue with. Another way to say it is “What you reap is what you sow.” Or even, “What goes around comes around.”
Author Ryan Holidays gives context to this quote, and explains how Seneca didn’t really follow this advice himself. That led to his ultimate demise at the hands of one of his students.
If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. But if you teach him how to commit a crime, he might turn it on you someday, and you might find yourself the victim of your own bad instruction.
Likewise, if you instruct the people who look up to you — your employees, or your children, for example — with immoral and hurtful ways to get what they want, then eventually it will come back around to haunt you. If they’ve been listening, then they’ll adopt what you’ve taught, and they won’t spare you either.
Teaching the wrong way to do something is harmful not just to the student, but also to the teacher. Don’t do it.