When we were children, there was a game we played called “Follow The Leader”. I remember that “walk behind me, do what I do and say what I say,” were the rules I was taught in this game. The childhood rules of “Follow the Leader” no longer apply. As adults we all make decisions day in and day out on many levels. We are both leaders and followers. To cry the start of “Follow The Leader” is an abdication of adult choice.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” is an old parental adage. The Urban Dictionary states that this phrase is “An expression used to call out hypocrites…” I see this as a definitive of the difference in “Follow the Leader” and being “taught”. Neither idea sits too well in the adult world unless we have agreed to be tutored in certain ways to learn certain things that we wish to understand for our own purposes.
Adults learn because they decide to learn, not because they are “taught”. This is a major difference in adults and children. If a child follows another child into a bad or dangerous situation, they were mislead and innocent of understandings. If adults allow a leader to place them in a difficult situation, they chose the wrong leader or they have agreed to the difficulties. There is a tacit agreement that adults are responsible to some degree of their own. Our legal system has laws based on this basic understanding.
We need leaders and, more often, we choose to follow those leaders whom will listen to us, agree with us, and serve our own purposes by taking care of the positions that will carry the responsibility required to support our endeavors. However, I think we have forgotten the lessons of childhood that made us willing to play “Follow The Leader” in the first place. Those who have something to teach us cannot leave instruction behind for others without people willing to learn. Those who wish us to trust them at times need us to remember what “Follow The Leader” used to mean.
As an adult, I choose to understand to learn what others are willing to teach insofar as the knowledge is beneficial in some way to my own endeavors. I also choose that 100% trust in someone else is foolish and never trusting someone else is to lose the capability of learning and living with others. I choose when I will follow and when I will not.
If we are to have a future as adults, we must admit to our own responsibility and to what we have learned from childhood. Each of us has our own answers about these things. There will always be times to lead and times to follow. Choices remain. In a day and time when leaders are difficult to find or believe in, perhaps we should not “Follow The Leader” but remember what we have been “taught”. As long as freedoms remain, choices will be our responsibility.