Just call him Daddy O.
Most leaders’ playbooks take at least a page or two from “The Art of War,” but President-elect Obama’s rhetoric seems to be torn from very different kind of text: the modern parenting manual.
The “change we can believe in,” it turns out, shares a lot with the revolution in thinking about child-rearing sprung from the work of Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler, which centers on principles such as mutual respect — or what the president-elect has called “the presumption of good faith” — fostering independence “Team of Rivals,” anyone?, and encouragement “Yes we can”.
This passage from Obama’s victory speech, for example, is a family meeting waiting to happen, complete with attempts to acknowledge his own limits, make room for dissent, make sure the listeners feel heard, and stress the importance of everyone’s contribution:
“There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”