EQI Home | Obedience


Obey Authority or Follow Your Heart?


One night I met some university students. I asked them what they thought was more important: love or education? Then I started thinking about all of this more and created this list of questions:


1. What is more important: Love or Education?

2. When you are in school and you are in a speech contest, what is more important: Winning or Saying what you really believe?

3. What do you get rewarded for in school? What do you get punished for?

4. Does the educational system in your country reward you for saying what you really think? Does it reward you for saying how you really feel?

5. When it comes to love, is it more important to obey your parents or follow your heart? 5a What about when it comes to life?

5.5 When you are in school, what is more important: To obey the teacher or follow your heart, feelings and personal needs?

6. What is more important: That the person you have children with has the same religion as you, or that the two of you are deeply in love?

7. Before there were so many different religions in the world, how would two young people choose who they had children with?

8. If you were Muslim and your parents didn't want you to marry someone who wasn't Muslim, but you were in love, what would you do? See question 5.

I also asked the students, who all said they were Christians, if they thought Jesus would ever hit a child or wear a tie. I told them how children vs. adults in South America answered those questions.

I feel... motivated to teach people a new way of living, thinking, believing. It is now 7:12AM btw.

The students I met were English majors giving their year-end presentations.

One of the organizers asked me which was the best. I could not answer that. I would not want to. There were too many factors. The "judges" listed 7 or so which the students would be judged on. Grammar and some others which I can't remember because they weren't things that wouldn't be important to me. None of them were "Expressing what you personally believe" or " Saying how you personally feel about something."

The presentations were mostly about comparing two novels. There were quotes from D.H Lawrence for example. But I could only guess how the students really felt about what they had read or what they really personally believed about anything. I don't even know how many of them thought that winning was important. I do know that they there was a cash prize for the "winners" and that the head judge listed off the scores of all of the students. I felt bad for those who were listed last. I felt protective of them. I believe this kind of thing is unhealthy for humanity. It reminds me of Daniela and her speech contest in Peru.

(I also remember now that a mother in Australia told me her daughter was disqualified from a speech contest because she went over the time limit. Did the judges care how the daughter felt? Or were they more interested in making sure the rules were followed? Last night no one got disqualified for going over the time limit. A cultural difference. I am in Romania now, btw. I also thought more this morning about what is important to school directors, such as attendance, punctuality. I remembered how they would punish students for being late, but still it did make South Americans punctual in their everyday life. I also remember a talk I gave to some parents about respect vs fear and being motivated to be on time because you respect someone or because you are afraid of being punished, or, because you really want to see them. Which is the best motivator? If you loved someone, would you want to be on time to see them? Would you need someone to threaten you with punishment if you were late to motivate you to get there on time? Or to call and say that you were running late? Would you still get punished in a school if you called and said you were running late?

Why do so many schools now call the parents because a student isn't in school? Is it because they are worried about the student and afraid something has happened? If so, why not call the student on their cell phone and ask if everything is ok? Why call the parents?

S. Hein
Targu Mures, Romania
May 14, 2008