Privilege and Responsibility By Abigail Adams: Reading and Meditation

July 8, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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Privilege and Responsibility, Abigail Adams


“Your improvement should bear some proportion to your advantages.” So speaks a mother to her son, who is traveling abroad. To whom much is given much is required. What one has by nature is not enough; the discipline to develop what one has been given is a sacred responsibility. And still, the development of talent, the use of privilege, is not sufficient. One must discern the demands of one’s circumstances. “Great necessities call out great virtues.” How does one match one’s talent with the needs of the age? Adams urges to her so to consider at once past, present, and future. We inherit the past, meet the need of the future, but transmit this inheritance to ages yet unborn. To be worthy of all three moments is the task of a lifetime. What must we do so that the waters we bequeath to others are richer in virtue than even the waters that gave us life?

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado

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