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Blog posts sometimes get discussed on Facebook and so some of you miss parts of the conversation. On one Facebook conversation, Carol noted the importance of avoiding a "Holier Than Thou" attitude. I could not agree more. 

None of us are perfect. We ALL make mistakes. Grace should be something we easily extend to others (and ourselves).

But let's be clear -- we have rules to guide civilized behavior and to keep things FAIR.

Rules create a level playing field for imperfect human beings (aka all of us). The reality of human imperfection is not an excuse to break rules nor a defense when one is caught breaking rules -- rather rules exist precisely because we are imperfect and need guidance to keep some semblance of order on our playground, so to speak. 

When Joe Bob points out that Sally Sue cheated at kickball, it isn't a suggestion that he is better ("holier") than Sally Sue. No -- it is simply about Sally Sue breaking the rules that everyone agreed to before playing kickball, and it is a request for someone to make things fair again since Sally Sue didn't listen when Joe Bob told her to stop cheating.

Joe Bob didn't make the rules -- why attack him? He just wants things to be fair for everyone.

And Joe Bob isn't offering himself for comparison -- he knows well he isn't perfect. Rather, he is simply pointing out that Sally Sue violated the kickball rules, thereby making the game unfair for all and setting an unfortunate example for the first graders, so to speak. 

Or how about this... 
(source: Unknown)

Ms. Officer: I pulled you over because you did not come to full stop at that stop sign.

Driver: There wasn't anyone else around, and I need my latte before I go to work doing important things so I am in a hurry. It didn't impact anyone.

Ms. Officer: *starts writing the citation*

Driver: Wait, What? Like you don't make mistakes?! (or try this one: "Everyone does it.")

If everyone ignored the running of that stop sign, it would soon become community practice to roll on through. And when a six-year-old is hit by a car at that corner, every single person who helped create the community norm of ignoring the stop sign has a piece of the responsibility.

A dog event usually doesn't involve anything so drastic. But Life with Dogs is really Life, with Dogs and I think that is why it matters: Because loss of integrity (and all kinds of other important social norms) happens one small rule snap at a time.

Just a wee bit over the boundary and then a wee bit more... And then someone else starts and then someone else and pretty soon kickball resembles a free-for-all brawl and most quit and start playing something more civilized -- like hockey.

Okay, maybe not hockey -- maybe croquet?

In the face of a rule violation, the question that puzzles me is not, "why do you care?" but rather, "why don't you care?"

2 comments

by CA Heidi :-) on Fri, 05/19/2017 - 12:42

I love, Love, LOVE Sparkle's "sign here," picture -- I am printing it for the traffic guys at DH's office! Sign here, hee, hee, hee!

Rules are important for exactly the reasons stated. while one small break might not impact so very much, the unintended consequences can impact unfair beyond our imaginations. Plus, I think breaking an agreement, which is what rules are DOES have great impact. When I cheat, or run that stop sign, what I am saying is, "I am more important than you." That is a actually a really big statement that will likely stir up a lot of feelings. I actually do not think most people would want to outright say that to another person, and there are lots of justifications one can employ to try to get around it, but that is really what cheating and rule breaking says. No ribbon could make me feel good about that.

~H

PS:
I am sending Sparkle sign to hold for Embellish. She is so dang cute! I am sure our sales will rise dramatically!

by Jennifer Z on Fri, 05/19/2017 - 15:08

Excellent point, and illustrations.

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