Sunday, October 02, 2005


Our neighborhood pool closed a couple weekends ago. We took the kids for the final day to wrap up the summer. While we were there, I couldn't help but observe one mother's interaction with her son, Jacob. Jacob was pretty wild and his mother spent a majority of the time trying to rein Jacob in, specifically with the following sentence repeated over and over:

"Jacob! Stop! That's against the rules Jacob!"

Her choice of words was very interesting to me. Instead of, "Jacob, that makes mommy angry because you're making a mess. Now you'll need to clean it up.", or "Jacob, do you see that he doesn't like getting water splashed in his face?", or "Jacob, I don't like to see you run because you can fall and hurt yourself." or even, "Alright mister, TIME OUT!"

In other words, Jacob's learning to live by the letter and not the intent. He's learning about rules but not really about the reasons why we have them. And he's learning that they shouldn't be broken (or, that they're easily broken with little consequence).

I don't want my children to be afraid of action simply because it's "against the rules." Things get done and innovations created
against the rules. I want my children to have a deep understanding of the rules, which rules are sacred, and which rules are made to be broken. A rule by itself is a hollow shell that's easily broken or blindly followed by the Inconsiderate. I want my children to grow on a solid foundation of consideration.

1 comment:

Thomas Cook said...

That's some dangerous thinking there.

Me, I might bend a rule every so often, but breaking rules? Haven't even considered that.