I used to be a kindergarten teacher. Children would run around and scream all day, and I was supposed to keep them under control so that they won’t hurt themselves.
One day, I was trying to teach them how to spell “Apple” in class. I wrote the word on the blackboard. When I turned around, it was a mess. John and David were violently hitting each other, Ella was crying with a running nose because she missed her mom, and Anna was throwing up on the table (to throw up means to vomit).
Today, I’m going to teach you English phrases that are about “control.”
[Phrase #1 – to be out of control]
In my kindergarten class, children were out of control. I couldn’t make them listen to me.
Have you seen the Will Smith movie, “I, Robot”? When robots and machines go out of control, bad things can happen.
You could say, “The situation is out of control,” “He is out of control,” or “The machine is out of control.” They are doing things that you don’t like and you can’t do anything about it.
Don’t say, “I’m out of control!” It means, “I’m crazy!” If you really are crazy, you probably aren’t aware that you are. So you would never say, “I’m out of control.” If you are not crazy, you wouldn’t say that either. Are you crazy? I don’t know.
[Phrase #2 – in the driver’s seat]
When we talk about being in charge, we use metaphors like, “I’m in the driver’s seat,” or “She’s behind the wheel.”
Let’s say, Michael is a project manager. But he is easily influenced by other people. When you want Michael to make his own decisions, you could say something like this:
“Hey Michael, don’t let them tell you what to do. You’re in the driver’s seat, when it comes to managing this project. You have the final say in these decisions!”
The person who has the most weight in his or her opinion is said to have the final say. The president of a company has the final say in making important decisions for the company.
[Phrase #3 – to wear pants]
Do you wear pants? Do you wear the pants in your relationship?
When someone “wears the pants” in a relationship, it means he or she assumes the dominant role. If Juliet wore the pants, then she would tell Romeo what to do. Is that how Shakespeare described their relationship? I don’t remember.
[If your life is out of control]
Do you sometimes feel that your life is out of control? Maybe your boyfriend left you, your boss hates you, your pet goldfish died, or your favorite restaurant was closed today.
You might feel that your life is out of control just for a while.
But never say, “My life is over”!
“It’s over” means you gave up. Your life is finished.
I didn’t give up on being a kindergarten teacher.
I’ll teach those children how to spell “Apple” successfully, someday.
Don’t give up.