How hard is it to follow instructions?

Honestly,  following instruction is actually very difficult indeed, irrespective of how old or how young you are.  A friend reported last year that one of the comments on her daughter’s primary school report read:  “M has finally learnt to follow instructions.”   

This is actually a remarkable achievement, and not one that I have mastered yet.  I find that there is a strong link between not following instructions and critical thinking.  It is clear to me that critical thinking and blind obedience are mutually exclusive. 

I have never in my life been in a situation where blind obedience was beneficial.    Aah yes,  the malady of  blind obedience … Let us count the ways it hurts us.

  1. It allows for the suspension of thought, I have a brain but why use it.  TS Elliot writes of The Hollow Men.  “We are the hollow men /we are the stuffed men/ leaning together / headpiece filled with straw.”  It is a shame to have a brain and not use it.
  2. It creates a false sense of security in which one simply follows –  lemming-like, sheep-like. Where oh where is your sense of direction, your sense of self and your sense of purpose.
  3. It creates an acceptance that someone else is in control of your life, that you are not 100% responsible for you – so now you have someone to blame, other than you, if you fail.
  4. It creates an excuse “it wasn’t my fault.”  This is only OK if you refuse credit for the good stuff as well.
  5. I could go on… and on… and on.  But being brainless is no excuse for being boring.

I find it particularly difficult to follow instructions that are arbitrary, or “somer”.  (That is the critical part of my brain).  I want to know why I must do something, I want to understand the terms and conditions, the limitations of the instruction, but primarily I need to know WHY.

I find it difficult to follow instructions that are not universally applied.  

I find it difficult to follow instructions that invade my boundaries, intrude upon my sense of self and privacy.    Infringements into my space always generates outrage (and in some instances a tantrum or two).  My response is, and will always be,   “Get you big fat grubby fingers out …”

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