Thursday, January 31, 2013
Rules and Exceptions
" Josh (8y) came home from playing at a friend's house. We'll call the friend Joe. Josh- Mom, Joe says any adult can tell any kid what to do. Like anyone, any adult can tell a kid what to do and they have to do it. Me- What do you think about that? ... J- I don't think its right. M- I agree with you. Now, are Joe's parents asking you to follow certain rules at their house? Because you need to respect their home and property. If you don't agree with something you can always leave. J- No, that's just what Joe was telling me his parents teach him. How confusing must it be, to be told a sweeping absolute like "you do whatever any adult tells you to do", and then to have exceptions thrown on top. "Except if they're trying to touch you inappropriately." "Except if they're asking you to climb into their windowless van." "Except if they're offering you drugs." "Except if they're telling you to go against some other rule we've given you." Can you imagine? How conflicted must a child feel when trying to follow such a rule, considering all the exceptions, considering the repercussions if they get it wrong? And at what magic age does one stop being "the child" unquestioningly obeying what they're told, and become "the adult" able to order around others and expecting compliance? All very confusing indeed. Around here we like to keep it simple. Respect the body and property of others. Keep your agreements. And question everything.See More "