Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Following the Rules

Yestereday I had a discussion with some teachers about following the rules. As many of you know, I am rule follower. Just give me a rule and get out of my way. I will follow the rules or die trying. It turns out that in much of America today, that makes me very special. Everyone seems to think they are special and that the rules don’t apply to them. Or as the Writing Playground’s Problem Child expresses it, “Everyone thinks they are a special snowflake.”

I was telling a story from my childhood yesterday about why I hate pears, when it was pointed out to me that I have always been a rule follower. It happened in kindergarten. Kim, a girl at my table, ate a pear every day for snack. I didn’t like pears but, hey, she didn’t try to make me eat it. Then one day they made us take our snack outside to eat. Now I was already unhappy about that. I am not a fan of dirt, bugs, or outside air but at five years old they don’t really let you be in charge. So there we were outside--Kim, me, AND her pear. I am not much of an athlete and I am very clumsy, so when Kim began to chase me with her pear it was just a few seconds until she had me on the ground grinding that half-eaten pear into my face. Since I am also not much of a fighter, I just had to lie there and take it until an adult pulled her off of me. I am, however, an excellent getter-evener. There was not a rule at my kindergarten that said you could not put crayons down the toilet. It also turns out that if you are only five, and during nap time you say you need to go to the bathroom, no one frisks you to make sure that you don’t have Kim’s 64 box of crayons with built in sharpener stuffed into your shorts. I NEEDED to get even with that Pear Welding Girl! After that day, there was a rule posted in my kindergarten's restroom that the staff referred to as the “Stephanie Rule.” It stated, “Do not put crayons down the toilet.” Oh, I got into some trouble for stealing her crayons. I had to apologize and replace them, but they weren’t able to make the crayons in the toilet charge stick due to the fact that there wasn’t a rule against it. It's hard to enforce a rule that doesn't yet exist. When I finished the story Barefoot Babe said, “You have always been you - having to follow the rules, even at five.”

It’s true. I always want to follow the rules. Good girls who follow the rules are supposed to be successes, who are rewarded. Bad girls who break the rules are supposed to be failures, who suffer. As an adult, I realize that isn’t always the case. Often, we see rule breakers rewarded with success, money, or fame. Sometimes one needs to break the rules in order to be true to oneself.

Have you ever broken a rule and had it turn out well?


  1. When your mom is a PROBATION OFFICER, you ALWAYS get caught!! :) I am loving this blog. Please make a blog button so I can post it on my blog.

  2. Being a former prosecutor, I don't admit to anything. LOL. In all honesty, though, even though you can't tell it with me, I am like you Plotter: I'm a strict rule follower. I cannot break the rules (doesn't mean you can't find a loop-hole like the crayon incident). Rules, in my opinion, make society function, otherwise we would have rule-breakers running all over town creating anarchy (shudder). Any way, keep up the good fight; I've got your back.

  3. I shamelessly stole your post for my blog and took a shot at you for ditching Sunday School - which is against one of my rules.


  4. I like the way Cheryl thinks. I'm a rule follower too and understand why. But occasionally I am driven to look for that loop-hole, especially when I can use it to stick it to someone who doesn't follow rules.

    Now I have to go make a list of all the items I'm donating to the thrift store so I can have that for my taxes. Rules, you know.

  5. I's surprised you were willing to put that box of crayons in your shorts. It would ruin the lines of your outfit.

  6. Well Plotter, guess you don't want any of my homemade PEAR relish! LOL
    I'm mostly a rule follower, but in my younger days did push it to the limits. Something about NO TRESPASSING and DO NOT ENTER sparked my curiosity. It's a lot more fun to go swimming in the country club pool at night when there's not a crowd and did you know you can see for miles from the top of a fire tower! ;-D

  7. Laurie-You did indeed have it rough with your ever vigilent mother. She never let you get away with anything.

    Cheryl-Thanks for getting my back. You are right I do love a loop hole.

    Bob-Thanks for loving me enough to be mean to me in a public forum.

    P.M. -Yeah, you got to love a loop hole. Good luck with your list.

    Sherry- I would have figured you for a bit of a rebel. Glad to see my instincts are good. I did not know about the pool, but I did know about the fire tower view.