Rules

The song goes something like, you have to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. I think you have to know when to follow ‘em and know when to break ‘em.

I’m talking about rules.

Rules are built in - humans have rules, animals have rules, nature has rules. Associations have rules, sports have rules. Governments and municipalities have rules they call laws.

There are rules for almost every situation: playground rules, relationship rules, when you’re in the library or church rules, friendship rules, running rules, etiquette rules - you name the situation and I bet we could find some rules for it.

There is the Golden Rule. Often there are house rules posted in establishments. You can apply a rule of thumb to something. There are spoken and unspoken rules. There is even a Texas town named Rule. [Glad I don’t live there :) ] In slang terms “you ruled that” is an awesome feat.

I had a boss once who used to tell me I was the kind of employee who didn’t play well with others and I used to tell him he was the kind of boss who ran with scissors. This was our way of saying we understood and respected each other for not always following rules in getting our jobs done.

Don’t get me wrong. Rules are important.

My mom taught me lots of rules and expected me to follow them. As I matured, I realized she not only wanted me to know them so I could follow them; she also wanted me to know the rules I was breaking.

I think of this as teaching me to be a trail blazer of sorts. If you’re not going to follow the rules and fit in, then know why you’re breaking them and what your intention is - what are you trying to change? What kind of difference will it make in the world if you don’t follow blindly those rules indoctrinated by someone else?

Knowing why certain rules are in place also taught me to make my own rules for myself to follow - following my heart - my own life’s path, not the one someone else would choose for me.

Sometimes it’s worth it to break the rules.

If everyone kept all the rules all the time, we'd still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage and slavery, and women still would be property. The way humans become humane is by assessing from the heart, rather than the rule book. Sometimes you have to break the rules around you to keep the rules within you.

I sometimes tell a story to my clients:

A man and a woman get married. At Easter, she makes a pot roast, but before putting it in the pan she cuts the end off and throws it away. The husband sees this and asks why she did that. She says that’s the way her mother always did it. When the mom-in-law comes for dinner, the husband asks her why she makes her pot roast that way. She says, “Well, that’s the way my mother always made it.” After dinner, while visiting grand-mom-in-law in the nursing home, newly married man says, “Our pot roast sure was delicious. Is that because you always cut the end off?” “No, I did that so it would fit in the pan I had.”

I challenge you to find the rules you’re blindly following. If one of those is in place to oppress others, will you speak up? Will you be the brave one who dares question the establishment?