Rules...today I struggle with the good and the bad of rules. Not just rules, really, but laws, requirements, mandates, suggestions...so many directives and so many gray areas.
While I usually think of myself as somewhat of a libertarian, there are days that I find myself thinking some new law or rule needs to be implemented to fix a perceived problem. As a consummate rule follower, I also want things to be concise and make sense. I know, I know...conflicted right? I want some rules but don't want rules that were made for just the sake of having rules. They should serve a purpose...a reasonable purpose that makes sense.
BUT..as of late a good many things don't make sense.
Thought Number One: Frivolous versus Important
When I was a young mother, I gauged some of what I allowed or didn't allow my children to do, on the premise "will this action impact anyone in any negative way". If my child wanted to fingerpaint on top of the kitchen table and was having fun doing it, was there anyone impacted or hurt in a negative way? NO, so why not let him or her paint? Wiping up some messy water based paint didn't bother me so, all is fine.
Conversely, I wouldn't let him or her loose with paint next to the neighbor's car.
I haven't progressed much past that. All the rules, laws, mandates etc. should have some value as far as providing a greater good for someone or something. They shouldn't just be arbitrary just for the benefit of making people jump through hoops.
Last week, for example, I was talking to a good friend and fellow blogger, Leah, (check out her blog, Eating Life Raw) about the fact that some writers go "ape shit" (technical term) over bad grammar. Out of all the things in my life, I have little care whether someone uses poor grammar. I have the ability to ignore it. If I read something poorly written, I could quit reading it, although in all likelihood would read it anyway. I would It doesn't matter enough to make a huge deal out of it.
Another rule that has incensed me this week that I need to put into the frivolous category but seem to be stewing over, is my community's HOA rules.
Last week I contacted a painter to repaint my house and he had an opening to start painting last Saturday. Very quick turn around and I was ready to get on with it. I sent an email last Wednesday (4/9) to the HOA architectural committee person (or at least the contact person with a link on the subdivision website) and said that I was having my house painted starting Saturday (4/12) but I was painting the house the same color that had been previously OK'd several years ago. Nothing is changing. No response by Saturday so I allowed the painters to start.
Last night I get an email from the person that I had contacted, who said he is no longer on the committee but I needed to fill out the appropriate forms and send those to the association's president....which I did. I also, apologized for the delay but in all fairness, the delay is the result of my original request going to someone that no longer is involved with the HOA and he didn't contact me back until last night.
Well....This morning, I wake up to a 3 paragraph bitch-out about how there is a process that takes time and I knew the rules when I moved here..blah, blah blah. She, also said she didn't believe that "it just occurred to me one day to paint my house" so I should of had plenty of time to work on getting the necessary paperwork done. OK...now that just pissed me off. How does she know that I didn't wake up last Wednesday and decide to paint my house?
Anyway, after getting her nasty email ....I, acting like the mature grown-up I am, shot back a equally snotty note. (copies available upon request) I haven't heard back yet but I am expecting a backlash. The fact that my house is half painted at this point isn't exactly bearing well on my previous statement claiming myself to be a "rule follower", but has, instead led me down the path of when are rules important and when are rules just created to justify someone's position or driven by someone's need to impose their will on others?
Thought Number Two: Rules that Make a Society Better
Now that I have started down that road of important versus frivolous...here comes the gray area. There are gaps between man-made rules that are bureaucratic in nature, the societal rules that protect our rights and the rights of other, and the moral and ethical rules that make humans "decent" (some might call these god-given rules, if you follow religious teachings like the Ten Commandments) and even the rules of etiquette that just serve to make us "nicer".
What I know in my heart is that you can't mandate good behavior. You can't make a law or a rule that makes a person behave himself or herself. You can only make rules that are designed to provide a good foundation for people to live in some style of harmony. That isn't how it often shakes out.
I am mired in sadness at the recklessness by people that break the "important" rules and leave the rest of us vulnerable to chaos. This has been a difficult week in my community just as many of your communities have experienced prior to this event. (Note: referring to the shooting deaths of 3 people in my community of Overland Park, KS) Those that choose to break the important rules to the determent of others, those that act out on some misguided premise or maybe they are just so vile and evil they can't comprehend right from wrong. I don't know how people think but I know that 3 people that were well loved lost their lives this week.
There are a lot of little rules hardly worth noting but there are some rules of such importance that it's hard to believe that people would every defy them. AND yet they do.
Off topic a bit....
Speaking of rules: I saw this on Facebook and thought "as rules go" I could get on board with these.
Notice the reference to using "please and thank-you".
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