Have you been with a group when the majority chooses Chinese but you counted on sinking your teeth into a filet mignon, but you say nothing and order Chinese? That describes acquiescing.

My informal research of asking “Is acquiesce a word you know or use?” revealed that the majority had heard the word but didn’t use it. A couple of medical professionals paused to reflect, then made excellent guesses, but one friend said “Absolutely! I use it a lot.”

Acquiesce means essentially "to comply quietly," so it should not surprise anyone to learn that it is ultimately derived from the Latin verb quiēscere, meaning "to be quiet." It arrived in English in the early 1600s, via the French acquiescer, with the senses "to agree or comply" and "to rest satisfied." From Middle French acquiesce, from Latin acquiescere; ad +quiescere ("to be quiet") from quies ("rest").

Synonyms: acquiesce:  accede, agree, assent, comply, consent, and subscribe. While all these words mean "to concur with what has been proposed," acquiesce also implies tacit acceptance or forbearance of opposition--acquiesced to his boss's wishes. Verb: submit, accept, approve, yield, bend, surrender, tolerate, give in, conform, succumb, go along with, bow to, cave in (informal); (intransitive) To agree or consent quietly without protest.

The word acquiesce has always fascinated me. I use it in counseling and decided to write about its vast importance in healthy communication skills. Its wider application became my main focus when I observed my under-2yrs-g-granddaughter calmly give up a plaything to her 3-year-old sister, then quietly look around for a replacement toy. So, from toddler-hood throughout adulthood, everyone experiences some type of acquiescence. But I had not discerned the intrinsic part that humility plays as this behavior unfolds. From the time we submit to others grabbing our toy, closing a book when called, pressing the mute button, pocketing a cellphone, or agreeing to disagree, we are involved in a simple act of humility.

Common acquiescing examples:                                                                                          1. Saying ‘yes ‘but really meaning ‘no’--possibly a measure for maintaining peace or out of fear.                                                                                                                            2. Accept something—a change--reluctantly but without protest.                               3. A teacher giving in to students' requests for extra recess time.                                   4. To agree or consent quietly without protest, but without enthusiasm.                      5. Agreeing to go on vacation to Idaho when you really wanted to go to Florida.        6. He will acquiesce simply because is a sick man.                                                         7. The committee will acquiesce in any decision on which it is not fully informed.  8. Acquiescing to the child's wishes to avoid tantrums, unwisely teaches a child how to get his/her way.                                                                                                            9. Seniors are especially wise to acquiesce and accept caregivers’ requests concerning safety precautions.

In chatting with Mac and Eileen regarding their understanding of acquiescing, they quickly acknowledged that Eileen’s total blindness demands extraordinary new compliance nearly every minute of her day. But they encouraged me to use my own acquiescing example which involved both Jim and me.

Early one Monday morning, as we were getting ready for our date-day, Jim said “I don’t want to go.”  “What do you mean you don’t want to have our date day? Are you not feeling well?” I went through all the questions: a headache? chest pains? shortness of breath? He answered ‘no’ to each one. “Okay, then let’s take your blood pressure to see if it’s extra low”. The reading was so crazy with 48 over some unnatural number that I mumbled “Our machine must need another battery” as I took my own blood pressure, which was normal. “I want to check yours again.” Same crazy numbers. “I need to tell someone this, Jim, but at this early hour who?” He said nothing. I dialed the cardiologist’s number not expecting anyone to be on duty this early, but a person answered the phone.  I told her what was going on and that I needed to tell someone. “Just a minute”, she said.  After a brief pause, she said “Mr. Ward has an appointment at 10 am.”  Jim was not resistant to going.  We had both acquiesced to the other.

“There’s something going on, Jim”, the cardiologist said, “and I’m scheduling you for a catheterization tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. But I want you to get blood work first, then go through the ER so your insurance will cover the cost.  Otherwise, we’d have to wait several days. Now, Jim”, the doctor coached, “When the ER attendant asks you how you feel, put your hand on your chest and say “I have chest pains”.

After the ER attendant got all Jim’s information, she asked, “Rev. Ward, how are you feeling?”  “I feel fine”, Jim said. “But Jim, you said you had chest pains”, I blurted out. The lady looked at him and at me without saying anything, except “Continue with the person at the next window, please.” That lady took more information and asked, “Rev. Ward, how do you feel?”  “I feel fine”, he said. “But Jim, you said you had shortness of breath.” I stammered.  She looked at Jim and her big, brown questioning eyes darted back to me. “It’s good he has a witness, huh?” I said nonchalantly.  She put the white band on his arm.

After waiting for three hours, a nurse approached us and said, “I’m sorry for the delay, Mr. Ward, but it will be a while before a room is available so you can see a doctor.” “I can’t wait”, Jim said. “I have a picnic to go to.”  “I’ll do my best”, she assured him.

“Let’s go”, Jim said. “I need to get some charcoal and the hotdogs.” I had planned to attend the Optimist picnic with him and had what I planned to take ready to go. “Sit tight, Jim and let me check on this”, I pleaded. I asked a clerk at the window “If my husband has the white bracelet on, does that assure him that he’s in the system”.  “I have no idea,” she said. When I passed that uncertainty on to Jim he said, “It’s after 2, we’ve gotta get going.” And I hesitantly followed him out. The picnic went as planned.

It was a relief the next morning at cardiology to learn that Jim was indeed scheduled for the procedure. He had a stress test first, then he was taken to surgery which lasted a long time. While Jim was in recovery, the doctor said to Kay and me, “The large artery at the back of his heart was 99% blocked so I put a stent in.”  The nurse said “If you had not brought him, he would not be here.”  Mac’s comment was that this whole story is about acquiescing to one another. That was two years before the brain tumors.

Whatever responsibilities God has assigned to us, whether small and personal or in the larger work-place, we can avoid prideful pitfalls and stubborn stances if we’re motivated by love, dependence on God and unconditional love for others. Submitting isn’t easy for anyone but it’s absolutely necessary at times. Acquiescing (quietly submitting) and humility are co-workers; without humility, acquiescing is difficult.

Jesus taught believers to acquiesce when he said “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Matt. 5:40-41. Jesus practiced what he preached by his willingness to submit when he didn’t have to.

Submit yourselves to your elders… all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under god’s mighty; hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  I Pet. 5:5 “Willingness to submit when you don’t have to, puts you in control of the situation”, Mac added.

FB: Have you discovered the wisdom of knowing when to acquiesce and when to stand firm? Click on:  and view Kurt’s scene.