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Entries in compliance (2)


Lesson from The Horse Whisperer: You don't "break a horse."  

The Horse Whisperer
"Buck," the  documentary, is about the man behind the legendary cowboy in "The Horse Whisperer."  His name is Buck Brannaman.


You don't 'break' a horse:

You don't break a horse.  You don't force them into compliance.  You don't enforce your will upon them by violating their will.  Neither do you do this to a person.  Another term for "breaking a person" is compliance:

  • Compliance breeds fear, and uses intimidation to its advantage: 
    "Do this or we will threaten you with 'consequences' until you meet our expectations."

  • Compliance is impatient: 
    "Do this now:  We're more interested in outcomes than in hearts."

  • Compliance violates the will of the other: 
    "I have the right [and power] to bend you to my will.  What you want isn't important."


You don't break a child.

Neither do you "break" a child; and this doesn't always imply a physical domination over a child.  Yet common parenting techniques that enforce "consequences" and varieties of disciplinary punishment; as well as "classroom management" techniques that get kids to shut up and be quiet "break the child" to gain compliance over their will. 

I once observed a substitute teacher scream across a cafeteria at a young girl for dropping food on the floor.  The adult's voice shattered the din and the room went silent.  The young girl shook with fear.  Tears streamed down her cheeks for the next 10 minutes.  He broke her.

The children, our spouses, or whomever we jerk around with bit and bridle, are the mirror to our souls.


"In this particular discipline, you have to be a sensitive person.  That vulnerability makes you great."  - from Buck, the film





You're getting hit with accusation -- the warning signs

Warning sign #1: The conversation centers around compliance -- getting you yield to an alleged standard of thought or behavior of some sort. This could be compliance to church standards of "holiness" or to corporate standards that determine how things have always been done. Or, this could be unspoken expectations one picks up from one's family of origin and carries into the job, the marriage, the parenting.  Or, you may have adopted a more healthy set of expections, but your family hasn't. 

Warning sign #2: The accuser needs to be right-- at the expense of the relationship.

Warning sign #3: Spiritual arrogance masquerading as "love." ("I'm only saying this because I love you and want what's best for you.") Hmmm...that's not what I'm picking up here...

Warning sign #4: Fight or flight? You either want to fight or run. You're wounded and want to place as much distance between you and your accuser as possible, but you don't want them to get away with it, either.  Paralysis?  Retaliation?  "Feeling overwhelmed....loosing my spiritual footing."

What about you? What have you experienced when you've been under accusation's sting?