Wednesday 9 November 2011

How "If____________, then______________" has sabotaged your relationships

From Good and Noble Heart Blog- Jim Robbins,musician and author

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

    • Scott Moultrie I was just talking to my wife on this very subject yesterday, I’ve been encouraging her to stand up for her voice. This is a hidden truth which hasn't received any attention, once again thank you so much Jim for your writings! I’m eagerly waiting for your book on this subject!
      56 minutes ago ·

    • Scott Moultrie I believe that because of this we find that there is over whelming evidence of so many Christians that suffer depression, it is all that pent up anger that isn't allowed to be expressed in the circles of church culture. The outcome is passive and very depressed people who can't walk in the Glory God has provided them through His Son.
      43 minutes ago ·

    • Jim Robbins Hey Scott Moultrie: You're right -- this "If ___, then____" dynamic is so prevalent that we often don't see it operating, and it's killing our hearts. God, on the other hand, gives us gracious latitude and offers us his approval because he has made us honorable, worthy and a great pleasure to Himself.
      11 minutes ago ·END

      The lessons taught in the schools of today are those of confusion (there is no meaning), hierarchical position (envy those above, despise those below), dependency ('success' is measured by the opinion of others and only 'experts' know the truth), obedience (do as others instruct in order to progress) and above all, conformity. A child is simply there to be filled with System-accepted 'facts', regimentally hurried from one lesson to the next to be bombarded with apparently unrelated information with any genuine enthusiasm or interest stifled in the boredom of classroom conformity. A child's intelligence is then measured by his or her meek receptivity to the systematic brainwashing and his or her ability to regurgitate these 'facts' in examinations, whilst the teacher's performance is evaluated by the speed and completeness of the indoctrination. The curriculum is very carefully controlled with standardised textbooks which teachers, whatever their personal feelings on the subject, have to teach in order to retain their jobs. Real questions about the nature of life, the reasons behind the contradictions in accepted historical absurdities, the dreams of self-expression have no part in the strait jacket of System education. People are 'consumers' and cogs in the corporate machine, and those who can accept this role are what the education process call successful'. If conformity is the price of 'success', those who seek alternative views and reject the indoctrination are made to experience shame and a sense of failure. We are taught that the Elite system of corporate-led consumerism has been freely created and that it provides the only answer for a meaningful, worthwhile life. Childhood happiness, enthusiasm and excitement for life are suffocated as we are taught to operate within a system which denies the very essences of humanity – love and the ability to question and search for the truth of our current existence.

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