Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I'm participating in NaNoWriMo. Man, characters can be hard for me. It's hard to build a character in a novel. (Not as hard for me as plot, but that's another post!) Characters need depth, nuance, and color - not easy for a techie type!

It's even harder to build character in a real person. How do you teach integrity? What do you do with a kid who knows how to play the game but doesn't understand - it's so much more than a game? If a kid follows the letter of the law, but finds every loop hole and bend the rules when it's convenient and not observed, how do you respond?

I try to explain to my kids rules are just tiny specifics we come up with for immature minds. Principles are what grown ups try to live by. I posted a question on facebook recently.
(FB, from here on out known as TGTS "The Great Time Suck")

"What house rules do you have that you'd never thought you'd need?" I got some great responses. So, as an exercise, here's the rules and the principles they're based on.

What we said:
"No cleaning the white board with the cat"
"You may not throw the pet rat in the air to see how it lands"
"Don't hit your sister with a burrito"
What we meant:
Be Kind to Others

What we said:
"Don't lick... " the seat belt, your sister, your brother
"No kids with sledgehammers"
"No spoons in anyone's butt"
"No picking your brother's nose"
"No body slams on the baby"
"Never jump on a person holding a knife"
What we meant:
Be Safe, Stay Healthy

What we said:
"No sillybandz in your food"
"No lunch meat on the soccer ball"
"You may not paint the kitchen cabinets with lime jello"
What we meant:
Don't waste resources

Now obviously there's some over lap. One could argue that it's wasting the burrito to hit your sister with it. Certainly body slamming the baby isn't being kind to that baby. But you get the idea.

Youth and adults have rules too. We have too often ignored speed limits on the roads, ignored marriage vows, plagerized papers, cheating on tests.... Yes, there are rules that are limiting and don't always deserve to be adhered to, but most rules are something that someone saw a legitimate need for. Rules are applied principles.

I want to teach all my kids that we can see a person's character , not just through their rhetoric, but through their behavior, not just the behavior they have when their in the public view, but their private behavior.

Who do you want in your life, a person who follows the rules or a person who adheres to principles?

Who do you want to be?

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