Leadership by Understanding

While watching yet another news report about what is going on in the streets of America—civil unrest, lack of accountability, equal justice, racism and politics—I decided to clean my basement. What I found is why I am typing: a dog-eared copy of one of my favorite books—Of Mice and Men.

John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937, was the tool used by educators to demonstrate three things in my public school experiences. The first was, “What is classic literature?” The second was, “What is the great American novel?” The third is simply an exposition on the human condition. It clearly did all three of those things, and I would submit it reflected the times in which it was written. Sad though it may be, it is allegorical and reads with an odd contemporary vibe today. No longer the trope of our classrooms, it ought to be seen as instructive.

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