Most Christians, most people in fact, live with what one educator calls, ""Compliance Acquiescent Disorder (CAD)." An individual with this disorder, "defers to authority," "actively obeys rules," "fails to argue back," "knuckles under instead of mobilizing others in support," "stays restrained when outrage is warranted," and so on. Compliance Acquiescent Disorder goes far beyond a proper sense of authority and mutual respect.
I just spoke with a mother today, who told me that her daughter [a responsible kid] was put into time out by her teacher for sharpening her pencil while the teacher was on the phone. The mother was incensed.
Norm Diamond, who coined the term, Compliance Acquiescent Disorder, was speaking of an educational environment that prizes compliance over almost everything; but C.A.D is an accurate term for what has happened to most of us. (1)
Most of our relationships:
- parent - child,
- boss - employee,
- teacher - student,
- spouse - spouse
operate around an "If __________________, then ___________________" dynamic:
If you behave well, I"ll reward you. If you misbehave, there will be "consequences."
If you put in over-time at work, you'll receive a bonus.
If you don't complete your homework, you will be penalized."
If you don't meet the expectations I have for marriage, then I'll withdraw as well.
At the expense of our hearts
Because we've gone to schools, worked in jobs, and learned parenting habits where compliance ["Just do what we tell you, whether it's reasonable or not"], always operate around "If ___________, then________," we've gotten used to pleasing others even at the expense of our own hearts.
We've caved, knuckled under, and refused to challenge the reigning assumption that controlling others and being controlled by others is normal. It is not.
Our jobs have taught us that workers produce more when there are "carrot and stick" incentives for performance, forgetting that most people want to do good and meaningul work, and don't need to be prodded or "managed" in order to do so. (2)
Our schools have taught our children to comply with every expectation of the teacher -- whether reasonable or not, whether actually good for them or not -- even when it is an assault against our child's will and dignity.
Our inherited parenting habits have taught us to shut down anything messy, anything disruptive, loud or unexpected; oftentimes simply because it's inconvenient for us, or we're just plain stressed.
"If ___________, then _________________" is everywhere, and it's killing our hearts. Worst of all, law-based distortions of Christianity have taught us that God only blesses people who comply with his will; and that pleasing him is a matter of getting things right.
(1) From Feel Bad Education, by Alfie Kohn
(2)From "Drive-The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," by Daniel Pink