The Road to Character by David Brooks
In this section Brooks writes about George Catlett Marshall and there are a few points that stuck. One, he was not a stand out at a young age. He struggled to find his way both socially and in school. Marshall figured out how to work and what it meant at VMI (Virginia Military Institute). It was a place of mediocre education but hero's were revered and Marshall was taught the habits of service and institutionalization. He learned to control the smallest details of his behaviors through reflection and desire.
I found this to be really interesting because we live in a time where service and self-control are not pervasive. In the land of Facebook and instagram I see more of friends (and strangers) than I would care to see or know. This is a quote by Marshall "The truly great leader overcomes all difficulties, and campaigns and battles are nothing but a long series of difficulties to be overcome." He embraced the daily grind as part of the responsibility of being a leader. I have worked for many leaders and there have been few that take on the drudgery of the job without complaint.
This chapter analyzed the role of institutions and I found myself "noodling" for quite some time on this particular thought.
As the editor Tina Brown has put it, "if everybody is told to think outside the box, you've got to expect that the boxes themselves will begin to deteriorate." I kept thinking to myself how I finally feel vindicated!! I don't like to take risks and although as a teacher I solve problems on a daily basis I always felt as though I was missing something because I wasn't more radical. This thought helped me to celebrate my own steadiness and small yet consistent contributions.
Brooks continues his journey focusing on people throughout history and drawing parallels to common problems and situations. This ebb and flow allow the reader to learn more about incredible people from the past as well as, analyze the present. A good read that I will keep on my bookshelf.