Male agitur cum domino quem vilicus docet.

It goes badly with a master whom the manager of the estate teaches.

(pron = MAH-leh AH-gih-toor koom DOH-mih-noh kwem WEE-lih-koos DOH-ket)

Comment: I don’t buy this one. First things first: we have two technical terms
here that must be recognized: the dominus is the master of an estate who owns
slaves; the vilicus is the estate manager, a slave himself.

The implication of this proverb relies on the social constructs of ancient Rome:
what sort of master can you be who are always being given orders and
instructions by your slaves? Authority, power and respect always flows from
the top down; from masters to slaves, from men to women, from adults to
children, from the wealthy to the poor; from the rulers to the ruled; from
Romans to anyone else. You get the picture. Any other flow simply means that
something is wrong; things are not going well.

The exceptions to this social construction are so numerous as to be ridiculous.
On a day to day basis, though, it is clear to me that students may walk into my
classroom and have instruction to offer that is the best in that moment. How
very sad if I cannot see that, accept that, or somehow think that a poor
reflection on me.

It actually goes well for anyone whom life itself becomes instruction.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
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