COLLEGE PARK, MD –
If we’ve been granted enough years on earth, most of us have a relationship in which we have, or should have, some level of authority.
This is most evident in the relationship between parents and children. And how often are there issues of authority between parents and children nowadays?
This unpleasant and unfortunate scenario occurs very often and it is a complex issue with a number of factors, and it’s only getting more complex as the world becomes more globalized.
I believe we can isolate one of the biggest factors: when a person in a position of authority mistakes their authority for a license to control those entrusted to their care.
For any of us in a position of authority, it is critical to understand the difference between authority and control.
Authority, in my opinion, is a state of being naturally held in reverence by those in one’s care. Due to the person of authority being on the giving end of particular good and service to one in their care, the beneficiary of that care is inculcated with a deep desire to reciprocate.
That reciprocation is often in the form of respect and honor to the authority figure who serves them faithfully, which makes up the substance of authority.
Only in rare cases is the person under authority an ingrate. In the vast majority of cases, a person under an authority figure will naturally gravitate to respecting and honoring that figure.
So why do we have this issue of lack of respect for authority presenting so early and often?
Usually, it is due to the authority figure betraying themselves and their dependents by not understanding their role properly.
An authority figure who seems themselves as a guide, a shoulder to lean on, and a source of comfort for their dependents never has to fear about their standing – they have understood their role and how to play it.
An authority figure who sees themselves as someone who should control and be served by their dependents is one who will never have authority, respect, or honor. They are simply dictators whose reign will only last a short while.
So anyone with dependents of any kind has a choice: have authority or control.
Many of us today are choosing control, so it is no wonder why authority is being snubbed at such an alarming rate.