Saturday, September 8, 2012

Questioning Rules

We have to do it for our kids to attend public the rules. The Annual Notification has to be reviewed by parent and child, agreed upon with a promise in in bold 36 point font. We value integrity so before we sign it we really do read over it with my sons. My eldest nodded seriously, agreed without much question and assured me that although he brought a plastic squirt gun to school once by accident, he would never do that again. I adore and honor my son for his consideration of what works for everyone. His respect for school, authority and rules comes from a natural love and compassion for all people. My son will do great things with his love and compassion for the world.

My middle son however was another story. Every rule I reviewed made his eyes widen larger. Each rule was a peek into what was possible and ideas he never considered. He had plenty of questions and I really had to give up my fears that these rules would inspire him to misbehave rather than define boundaries for good behavior.

"Kids bring guns to school? Where do they get the guns?" (wince)
"Gangs? What are gangs?" (cringe)
"Prescription drugs? Why can't we take those to school?" (shudder)
"So if you get expelled-ed you don't have to go to school?" (noooooo!)
"Do I get to go to any school I want?" (sigh)
"Do they bring kids to jail? Can they watch TV there?"(God help me!)

Just to satisfy curiosity, I answered every question honestly, with the reality of the consequences, ie: "Yes they might get to watch TV in kids jail, but only a few channels and they don't get to see their friends ever and their family only once a week. They don't get to ask for the kind of foods they like, play in a play ground or park or get any kind of video games ever."
He got it, he really is a smart and good boy (just for the record his teachers report him as a "helpful and enjoyable student")... but the previous twinkle in his eye that flirted with the idea of getting into trouble had me twitch in my sleep.

As much as I dread the boundaries he is most likely going to push when he is older, I also can see the miracle in his inquisitive and rule breaking brain.
He sees rules as boundaries to break...he wonders what is beyond the NO.
He may not break the rules, especially if it is not a good deal for him, but he is fascinated by what is possible and is curious about experiencing everything.
This is one adventurous boy. That's not great news for me, I may need to get serious coaching (or write my own book on parenting teens) when he is a teenager, but it sure is good news for the world of innovation.
Innovators break rules. They are curious about the furthest boundary and then blast past it. Inventors want to know everything there is to know about that type or product, industry or problem and then make up something new. This son, if I am not fearful and squash his natural desire to be curious about pushing boundaries...if I foster his wonder in the world, will also do great things.
I also adore and honor this son for his curiosity and hunger to live life fully.

It has me wonder where I might be stopping myself by obeying rules and boundaries...where I might get curious about what is possible, in an empowering way, and come up with something new. My children all inspire me, I just never know when or how that inspiration is going to show up. Who would have thought it would be over a packet of school rules?

Zen Honeycutt

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