Leading in “The Year of the Dog”

Leading in “The Year of the Dog”

Feb 16, 2018 begins the Chinese Year of the Dog.  Dogs are loyal, generous, and protective.  Given all of unrest in the world right now and the lack of civil discourse in the US and other places, what does the Year of the Dog call us to do as leaders?

Remember that dogs are loyal creatures, and generous to boot.  If you are a dog owner, you know the joy of being welcomed home from a hard day’s work by a dog happy to see you, no matter what mood you are in.  And if you make a mistake and/or leave it too long, it readily forgives you and is just happy to be with you.   At the same time, according to Chinese astrology, one of the weaknesses of the dog is that it trusts too easily and as a result, its judgment can be compromised.  This correlates with stories of people who have abused their dogs and the dogs are still amazingly loyal and protective of them.

So perhaps this year calls us to be loyal, generous and protective – but of what?  Is it a person? Or an ideal?  Confucius’ teachings on the importance of education, nobility, and ritual would suggest that we need to be loyal to the basic values that frame society and that enhance our humanity.  And that means being vocal and courageous in challenging those who would do otherwise.   As Confucius said:

In the presence of sages, you can see how to perfect your thoughts. In the presence of fools, you must awaken yourself. (The Analects of Confucius: 4.17)

Catherine M. (Cathy) Perme is a partner at Peterson & Perme Associates, LLC.

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