I was once asked at an interview by the person I would be working for if I would do as they told me to. I answered, “No, not in all cases.” I knew when I said it that it was not the answer he was looking for. He was wanting a “Yes sir,” kind of response I am sure. I went on to clarify that in my life I had been asked to do things that were against my beliefs by people of authority. That did not help. I left the interview knowing that I would not get a call back. I’ve thought about that question since and realize now that I could have in fact lied and said I would not disobey his orders at any given time but I would be giving up self for someone in control. Back then I had allowed people in my life to tell me what to do and at times I was very wrong in so doing. I have since learned that setting boundaries is not bad. It is just not always welcome nor suggested.
How many times in your life have you not done as someone has asked you? Does that fall into the parameters of disobeying? I am not sure. If it is an ethical matter does that qualify as being disobedient? What if your ethical standards vary from someone else?
When I was a teacher I had the opportunity to go into homes to visit. At times I witnessed things that I would not choose to do in my home. That was their choice, and it was okay. In fact, because of that, I used to explain to the young people who visited our home that we did not play with balls in the living room. If it was okay at their house that was the choice of their family. But, I collected pottery from various places we had traveled and did not want any to get broken. It was not an ethical thing, just a personal thing. Yet, one day a young man decided to throw a ball in the living room and consequently broke a piece when he knocked it off of the mantle. He in fact had disobeyed a simple rule and in the end I had to toss a broken piece I treasured into the trash. I bring that up as a simplistic example of how we react to things in the world about us. There are laws (speed limits) we might choose to ignore. We may text and drive. We may even drink and drive. Are those examples of disobedience? Or is it only when we get caught that we disobey? Maybe I could have told that man who interviewed me that I would do as he asked me to each and every time and then just chose the things I wanted to do. People do it all of the time. What is wrong with that? ??
Disobedience is not well defined in our world. As a child we might have gotten a spanking or placed into a time out chair to aid in teaching us right from wrong. Adults get tickets, are fined, jailed, and more. But most times we really have nothing happen to us when we do not obey a law or a rule. If I could go back in time to that interview I would have liked to have asked that man why he was asking me that question. Did he really want me to obey him every time? I would hope not. I would hope that as an adult he trusted me to know when I would obey and when I would ask questions. To disobey seems to be a natural thing we all do. Don’t we?