What comes to mind when you think about following rules? Do you follow any and all rules, regardless of who sets them? Do you follow rules you believe to be right? How do you determine when a rule is right? Do you follow rules out of fear for the consequences of breaking them? When are the consequences serious enough to make you decide to follow a particular rule?
There are a number of intriguing questions surrounding our whole approach to following. The few mentioned here only scratch the surface. I am a person who follows rules because I believe rules are a good guideline for doing what is right. I believe rules help us understand many of our relationships with others. I want the people I come in contact with to have the best life experience possible, and I believe following rules is a good way to help make that happen.
Unfortunately, I have come to realize that not everyone has the same respect for others that makes following rules something they want to do. I cannot remember the first time I met someone who really seemed to dislike following rules. I’m pretty sure there were situations in my childhood where I saw other people deliberately breaking rules. Of course, I broke rules myself, but I did it with regret, and I resolved not to do it again.
The extreme of people who seem to delight in breaking rules are those people we would identify as criminals. Terrorists seem to be another element of people who seem intent on breaking rules—at least rules as most of us understand them. The increasing frequency of senseless violence that seems all too common in today’s world cause us to repeatedly question why following rules seems to be such a disputed thing to so many people.
Terrorism and criminal activity aside, many people seem confused as to what the rules are that we ought to follow. Social media provides a forum from which anyone who wants to can loudly declare what is truth and therefore what the appropriate rules are. Historically we have had public debate when there were differing opinions as to what the appropriate rules are. Some people actually fear raising a voice in debate today for fear of being immediately labeled bigots and hate mongers.
As we move forward, it is important to think carefully about the place of rules in our lives and in our society. Open, honest discussion about rules and their place in our lives is a vital part of our getting along with one another. As we move forward, we should work hard to understand the rules that are a part of our lives. There are ways to work to change rules we believe should be changed. Let us always try to be part of the discussion. That leads us to live happily within the rules in our lives.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jae Bloom.