The Great Hunt - Chapter 24 [#100Days, Day 52]
July 3, 2019•408 words
RHIP - Rank Hath Its Privileges
"[Sheriam] keeps a willow switch on her desk. She says if you can't learn to follow the rules in a civilized way, she will teach you another way. There are so many rules for novices, it is very hard not to break some of them," she finished.
"But that's - that's horrible! I'm not a child, and neither are you. I won't be treated as one."
"But we are children. The Aes Sedai, the full sisters, are the grown women. The Accepted are the young women, old enough ot be trusted without someone looking over their shoulders every moment. And novices are the children, to be protected and cared for, guided in a way they should go, and punished when they do what they should not. ... The only thing to do is the best you can. There isn't anything else to do.
Elayne and Egwene, The Great Hunt, p. 301
With this description of Tower life for the novices, we see Jordan's memories of life at The Citadel during his college years. The newcomers, the freshmen, usually face the most restrictive lifestyle: a myriad of rules (that can be easily be interpreted as "broken"), lots of study, additional mandatory activities and very little free time (or sleep). As the class or cohort progresses each year, rules dissipate, free time becomes more plentiful, and some of the intense pressure is lifted. Similar to the Accepted's intense testing, the purpose is to assist in the "wedding out' process. The drawbacks? It's very easy to abuse all the positional authority afforded by merely being senior to the freshmen. And the overall culture or climate may support such behavior. But, it does provide the young novices the opportunity to see a wide array of leadership styles and determine what fits them, individually, the best.
For other organizations, the abuse of positional authority leads to a toxic environment. It requires engagement at all levels to counter; as well as abiding by foundational principles of respect. It would seem overly obvious to state - but "being a decent person and treating others decently, with respect" seems to be a surprisingly challenging set of leadership qualities to achieve in some cases.