On “Have To”

How many times a day do you utter the pair “have to,” as in “I have to…” or “You have to…”? I’d wager it’s long of a few and short of several. But what a despicable pairing this is. Think about it. “Have to” means that you must, that you are without choice in the matter. If you “have to” do something, then not doing it is unacceptable. Why not? Is it a self-imposed obligation? Why? Because you want the ends sought? Then it’s not a “have to,” but a “want to.” Is it an other-imposed obligation? Why? Because someone else wants the ends sought? And the only way to get them is through the utilization of you? In other words, you are just a means to someone else’s ends? How dehumanizing (and potentially enslaving). Instead of “have to” anything, why not consider your choice in the matter? What an empowering thought. And that’s today’s two cents.


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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.