I’m going to put something out there that might make me seem a bit of a goodie-two-shoes. Which I’m not, not really. So here it is:
Rules are NOT always made to be broken. And for good reason.
Rules are part of everybody’s life, whether we realise it or not. They form the framework from within which we operate in our society, our homes, our schools, our workplaces. Life would be unrecognisable without them. Just imagine the chaos.
I read on Mamamia the other day about the case of a Queensland school boy who refused to cut off his long rat’s tail in accordance with their school uniform policy. The school is giving the boy a detention every day until he cuts it off. The father is saying he will take this matter all the way to court if the school doesn’t back down.
I think he is totally missing the point and sending the wrong message to his son. This was an ideal opportunity to teach him an important life lesson. That sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. And even though you don’t like it, you still have to do it. Just suck it up and get on with it. It’s just a rat’s tail, for god’s sake. Chop. It. Off. Hang it up at home.
I have had similar conversations about school uniform with Son #2. He (and loads of others at his school, I’ve noticed) like wearing black socks instead of white ones with their uniform. (I have NO idea why, don’t ask) The school has sent home reminders about uniform policy in their newsletter – specifically mentioning that their uniform is white socks – creating a few heated discussions between my son and I on the subject.
“But they look heaps better,” he says. “I don’t care,” I say. “You can wear black socks any other time but between the hours of 8am and 3pm, they have to be white because THAT’S WHAT THE UNIFORM POLICY SAYS.”
I’m not advocating squashing a person’s individuality to their own detriment but I don’t think abiding by the rules does that. I don’t have anything against black socks. They can be worn all the time when he’s not at school for all I care. But rules are rules. And they were all clearly written on the enrolment form we signed, remember?
But it’s not actually about the socks. Or the rat’s tail. It’s about teaching kids discipline and respect for authority. That you can’t go whining to the nearest mate/parent/media outlet to make an exception when you come up against a rule you don’t like. As parents we shouldn’t be encouraging and/or supporting behaviour like this Queensland father is. Rules are a fact of life – we all have to abide by them. Finding a loophole or an escape clause won’t do kids any favours come the time they have to look for a job.
Rules are important. We have road rules for driving, a legal system of laws and standards of behaviour to follow. In sport there are rules of the game. All come with their own penalties if you break them. That’s where parents come in.
The sooner we start educating our kids by enforcing consistent and fair rules, the better off they’ll be in the future.
So what do you think? Are rules made solely for the purpose of being broken? Or are you a regular rule follower and proud of it?
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