So I spent some time looking over some lesson plans for The Prince. They all seem to be variants of the same thing: an examination of qualities we say we want in a leader, and then a more specific look at types of leaders, what their jobs require, and then from that, figuring out what sorts of qualities are needed for an effective leader. The idea is supposed to be that the qualities we admire do not match up (not precisely) to the qualities that make an effective leader.
One of my classes threw me for a bit of a loop. I swear, it was like they'd arranged a secret meeting with one of my previous classes and asked them what the 'secret' was. When they came up with their first list, honesty and compassion weren't on it. Instead they included things like determination, respect (which showed up on all the lists!) and - get this - strategy. I'm wondering if this was a fluke, or if it really says something about our students and the culture they're growing up in. Are we more practical and less idealistic than we used to be? Or am I looking at the situation too narrowly?