When I had kids, I became a parent. The sudden presence of a child made me a caretaker, a teacher, and an example. As my kids grew, their actions sometimes made me something I hated to be, but knew I must be: a disciplinarian. Was I a friend, of course, but I was a parent first. When you’re a kid, it’s hard to understand how a butt whooping will hurt Dad more than it does you. I found out why when I had children.

Being responsible at work is kind of the same thing. There’s a job to do. If the boss has to force a man to do his job, that man is not going to like his boss anymore than a rebellious kid likes his parents. Whose fault is that?toddler

Back in the olden days, before cell phones, I had a land rig in Saudi Arabia. I was the company rep and responsible for the well and the money spent to drill it. One day, the rig’s toolpusher had some colorful words for me. I thought about it a minute and told him he made me. Cold silence followed. He was stumped. To do my job, to keep my job, I had to make him do his job. I could have fired him. Thinking back, my life would have been easier if I had, but I didn’t. It’s been 20 years. I doubt he understands even now.

The pressure of responsibility can change men. Some are cool under the day-to-day load and even cooler and more composed in a crisis. Some appear cool right up until the moment a problem arises. It’s easy to tell who they are. Their tongue gets away from them.

My observations of random, out-of-the-blue spouts of caustic verbiage and childlike tantrums from the humanoid type units I’ve worked with and for leads me to the following conclusion: “The less one knows the louder he gets.”

I’m tempted to cite further examples from our current political discourse, but everyone seems to be yelling.