Author’s Preface Post 10

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

18. Conflict–All Conflict – And the Rules of Engagement

         As a parent, as a teacher, as a friend, you can learn to think about interpersonal conflict in terms of the Rules of Engagement.   This will help you in these ways:  First, you won’t be thinking like everyone else and find yourself slurped into their mistakes.

Second, you will learn to recognize conflicts where you have no standing and avoid involvement before you are dragged in.

Third, when you find yourself snared, with no escape, in engagements that have escalated to conflicts of will, to force on force contests—in the home, in your workplace, in your neighborhood, state or world—you will know how to mount a successful defense and win against all comers, or beat a hasty escape, dragging your team mates out with you.

How can you do this?  Learn to think like a parent.   By learning to think about the best interests of someone other than yourself, you can learn to see options from the point of view of other people.  It is as parents that human beings come closest to being able to put someone else’s interests above their own self-interest.

19. The Best Interests of Your Children

         Even the worst parents have simply unconsciously substituted their best interests for the best interests of their children.  How many times have you heard these words: “Look, I’m doing this for your owngood.”

Or worse: “Hey, this hurts me more than it hurts you.”

Obviously, all of us are not parents.  But all of us have parents, whether or not we knew them face to face.  And all of us have people who raised us, who brought us (or who are bringing us) up to the age of reason and to the age of self-determination, the age of legal majority.   It is the fate of children to be raised to be fit players in their parents’ worlds, and then to grow up to play in worlds surrounded by elders whose watchwords turn out to be “Oh, who would ever have thought that such a thing would be possible?”

By thinking through the ways in which your parents taught you what they believed to be the best responses to techniques of coercion, i.e. the use of force and the threats of the use of force, you can literally de-program yourself.  You can see the use of force played out around you in a new light, and you can learn new responses to force when it is leveled against you.

If you are fortunate enough to still have children and young people you are responsible to as a parent or as a teacher, you will begin to teach your new look to your children and young people.  Your new look will not change the past, but it will shape your future.

20. YourFuture

         You will learn to use analytical tools to help clarify your thinking in your own situations.  Considering the Rules of Engagement in the Use of Force is an analytical tool.  Diagramming is an analytical tool.  You will examine analytical concepts for what they are: ideas, and accept them or refute them, as you see fit.