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The Art of Living
Free-spirited and creative types know what I mean. Rules get
in the way of creativity and getting things done [Hell, there
are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something. --
Thomas A. Edison].
When too many rules are in place, progress halts. It also
prohibits us from listening to the quiet whispers from our
heart. The best ideas come from the soul; no-holds barred,
just creativity and imagination that spawn amazing things.
A rule is made and it's bound to be broken, have a flaw that
makes it ineffective, thus birthing yet another rule. And so
on and so on.
You might be thinking, "Hey, hold on! Don't you have rules for
Lily to live by? How can you raise Lily without rules?" I have
SOME rules. The thing is, I don't 'over-rule' our household.
The key to our successful household is character building, not
rules. When you build a child's character, you teach
consideration, respect, integrity, morals, empathy ("put
yourself in their shoes", "do unto others, as you should want
them to do unto you"). There is a big difference between a
rule and a character virtue. I have also found that by
developing character traits, Lily leads from her heart and her
decisions have to pass the character traits' test before
coming to a resolution.
A rule is, "don't wear your shoes in the house", when
driving a car, stay on the right side on the road (or left
side if in the UK, Australia, or Europe), and show your badge
to security when entering the facility. These are human-made
Fewer rules are needed, when character traits are developed;
and that's why, in our household, we have few rules. We know
if we live with consideration for the other, most of the time
family life moves along quite cohesively. This by the way,
does not have to be due to religious beliefs. Although it does
help a great deal to believe in a God, a higher power, so that
your virtues stand on a firm foundation of morals rather than
standing on shifting sand of no belief, hence no basis for
virtues. For our home, the Bible is the source and 'verifier'
of character trait disciplines.
Yesterday, I decided to drive my daughter to school, and
because I threw off her morning schedule by doing so, she left
her purse containing the housekeys and cell phone at home.
Later on, I dropped off her purse at school, and boom there it
was a new school RULE; "Students are not allowed to be
interrupted while in class."
I made my case. It didn't matter, the woman behind the desk
was not listening, she was reciting the script she was given
by the principle, "The RULE is that all deliveries (in this
case my daughter's purse) is placed on a shelf, and you
(that's me) write the student's name on the board outside of
the cafeteria, and when she comes down for lunch, she will see
her name and know to come to the office to pick up her
delivery." She ended her speech and finally took a breath.
I, on the other hand, continued to be stunned; "HUH? Are you
serious? That is not a brilliant rule," I jaded.
I couldn't believe my ears because I know the attention span
of a tween/teen is about 3-seconds, not to even mention the
inability to multi-task (scientifically proven). At lunchtime,
the only focus my 12-year old has, is food and friends; she
won't be looking for her name on a board. She is looking for
her friends to socialize with while inhaling her lunch in the
20-short-minutes she is given. Why would she look on the board
when she normally doesn't get deliveries? And after finding
out later that evening, she didn't even know her purse was
missing!!! She would have found that out at dismissal when she
was on the bus (all too late then), and then gone into a
frantic-spin. Heck, I was in frantic-spin after learning about
the not so brilliant rule!
What's worse; I left a message for the principle and he
wouldn't even talk with me. He had the assistant principal
call me. Too good for the parents, are you? Can't address a
parent's logical safety concern for their child? Remind me
again why I contribute toward your salary?
End result, I called the school 30-minutes before dismissal to
confirm Lily did, in fact, pick-up her purse. No she did not
see her name on the board; just as I figured. At lunchtime,
Lily's friend told her that she had a delivery.
People establish rules thinking it will solve problems. More
time spent developing character, would bring about the
realization that rules are for fools; you know how sheep
follow without thinking [Any fool can make a rule, and every
fool will mind it. -- Henry David Thoreau].
And, really, the only thing dumb rules bring about is,
FRUSTRATION, which comes on full speed. Look at all the rules
around us because of people who, lack the character virtues,
have spoiled it for those of us who DO have virtues. I know
what some of you (rule-makers) are thinking. We need safety
rules. Yep, I get it and agree that certain things like hazmat
attire and airport security are needed. That is not what I am
referring to here.
If you know about a rule that really serves no purpose other
than to frustrate you; is that rule REALLY needed? I mean, if
more people had character traits like consideration, respect,
integrity, morals, and empathy would the rule even need to
The Art of Living is ...
Inspiration from nature's beauty, simple living, love, and peace.