61 – Boudicca leads a revolt against the Romans (and dies)
This is the kind of chapter that is frequently misunderstood. In Chapter 61, Lao tells us that we should lie low; submit to others and, in so doing, dominate them. Women, say Lao, can beat men if they accede to their wishes. Small countries can conquer big countries by not putting up any resistance to them. Big countries need to get bigger, says the man with the plan, and small countries need to serve.
Is it any wonder that he gets misunderstood?
But I think that the real message is that victory does not always go to the strongest. Sometimes, it is a good strategy to fold and submit. Not surrender, but submit. Isn’t that what many teachers do when faced with a class whose expectations are not the same as the teacher’s? We submit to what the students expect and we chip away that way. We could use authoirity and power and dictate how events are going to run, but what would be the point of that. No, we lie down and let the students walk all over us. But in so doing, we become the path; the way; and we’re pointing in a direction that we think leads to better learning. Our students – the many – are the big countries that need us. We – the few – are the small countries that need to serve. Bob Marley got it.