Over time, it has come to be the case that while I tell a significant number of people—my students and children—what to do, there are few people who tell me what to do. My Department Chair rarely tells senior faculty what to do—though he does make suggestions. The higher administration may pass policies, but rarely do they tell tenured senior faculty what to do, in the way I tell my students. My parents advise but don't command.
All this is an unfortunate state of affairs. One of the human virtues is that of obedience, a virtue particularly well suited to teaching humility and guarding from pride and arrogance. I confess to finding the exercise of authority to have a fair amount of pleasure about it, and to enjoying not having much authority exercised over me. And while there are genuine goods here, and goods are to be enjoyed, my enjoyment is nourished by and nourishes vices as well.
It is not uncommon for this to happen as one ages. As one gains seniority, the ratio of authority exercised over one to authority one exercises often shrinks. But the greatest of the vices is pride, and obedience is a genuine virtue. It is important to fight the authority imbalance.
Being a religious superior who had few people to tell him what to do, St Philip Neri talked of the value of at least having his doctor to obey. Those of us in the envied but aretaically unenviable position of commanding much more than we are commanded need to make an effort to come to be under various authorities, to seek out activities where one will be under the authority of others, however much that may grate the old Adam. Join a club or fraternal organization but don't be an officer. (Particularly valuable might be a setting where much younger people get to tell one what to do.) Get a personal trainer. Serve in one's parish while avoiding positions (official or unofficial) of authority, except when one's parish really needs one.
Perhaps such things can help develop a habit of wanting to obey rather than be obeyed, a habit that will make one's exercise of authority always be appropriately reluctant.
This has snuck up on me.
Orate pro me.