Are We All Control Freaks?

Posted on December 2, 2011


It was a beautiful day today in San Francisco. Shorts weather (which is a rarity here), but we do benefit from getting it in December 🙂

In any case I decided to go to the driving range. I’m actually not a huge fan of playing golf, but I find the driving range to be almost like meditation. It clears my head, I’m outside with the sun on my face, I’m engaging my brain in a way that is like work, like solving a puzzle, but mixed with physical motion. For what ever reason I get lost in it very easily.

Today, as I was at the driving range, there was a lesson going on behind me with about 8 kids, I’m guessing around the age of 10 or so.

For the most part the kids were kind of goofing off, which I appreciated, but at one point the instructor told one of the students, “I want you to do X, just so you do at least one thing I tell you to do today”.

I looked over at him and he smiled knowingly back to me as if to say “kids, what are you going to do”.

I wanted to say, “dude, you’re fucking kidding me, did you really have to make the kid do something purely to feel like you were more in control?”

I wrestle with this a lot. My daughter is not old enough, so I haven’t yet experienced anything where I just need to tell her to stop because I can’t take it any more. I’m guessing that will happen, but other than that, I honestly want to punch anyone that thinks they are justified in giving another person an order that should be executed on without question. Maybe if you’re in the military this is justified, but I even question it there.

Do you really think a child has any different emotions then you do when you’re told to do something. Personally, if someone gives me an order I want to say “fuck you”  (I normally don’t swear in my blog posts, but this stuff really gets under my skin). I have no tolerance for anyone telling me what to do.

All you have to do is ask me, give me context, let me know that you’re not making me do it just because it gives you a sense of power. I love helping people, but I’m also extremely empathetic and, if you’re trying to make me do something for any reason other than because you legitimately need help with it, then I might tell you to fuck off.

This issue is so rampant with kids and in education that it makes me want to scream. We’re bottling up creativity and curiosity under a bunch of control issues. And for what reason? Because kids are going to have to follow orders when they’re adults? That’s bullshit. No one should have to follow orders, ever. We need to be raising and educating independent thinkers who are capable of recognizing when a situation requires their help and who want to lend a hand because they care about other people, not because they were ordered to do so.

You might argue that plenty of work environments order you to do things. Generally speaking these are pretty pathetic work environments. I’ve run a few businesses and never had to order anyone to do anything. If I gave them enough context then they were happy to help because they cared about the business and their colleagues. That said, these environments do exist, but I want nothing more than to help raise and educate people that have the courage to stand up and rebel against such environments. These environments are not effective and are damaging to everyone involved with them. I would consider it an accomplishment if my efforts even played a small role in helping to abolish such foolish practices.

Ok, getting off my soap box now. Didn’t mean to get quite so worked up. Especially after a nice afternoon in the sun.