Images for obedience pop up immediately: childhood, dog training, traffic lights, bike lanes, church services, confession, parents, catechism, penance. Obedience is a state of mind, a set of rules that we didn’t make that are handed to us at birth. Vows. School. Clergy. Employers. Banks. Taxes. Vaccines.
There are sacred rules that require obedience as an unquestioned state. To question is to lack faith and who are we without faith? Those who disobey, leave that which is their familiar sacred behind, discover a new definition of sacred, understand faith is not what they were taught from birth.
Obedience becomes difficult in adolescence in the face of newly-acquired education and newly-awakened hormones. The desire to experience everything boots obedience to the back of the bus, where it rattles around with empty wrappers and forgotten luggage.
There are imperatives we see as adults, things we must pay attention to: the environment, retirement funds, health care. We are directed by our aging bodies, bank accounts, unfulfilled dreams. We obey in order to survive. We obey to keep the world functioning for our children.
We obey to keep the peace.
What do you obey? What do you disobey? Who do you wish would show obedience to your ideals? When do you let a demand for obedience become a request for compliance?