Monday, May 27, 2013

The Reality of Rules

I remember one of the hardest things about growing up was learning all of the rules of ... growing up.

Things were always either black or white, good or bad and, to parents and the rest of the world, it seemed everything was either right, or wrong.

To this child, there really was no grey area, that safe place in between the extremes that we all enter as we grow older.

The way I learned best, of course, was through listening and minding my parents. But I also I learned by testing the very rules they imposed and finding out there were consequences for breaking them. (I spent a lot of time thinking about rules in the "naughty chair").

From a child's vantage point, grownups have it easy. They can stay up as late as they want. They don't have to go to school and sit in a classroom. They can do anything they want to do AND they hold the key to just about everything in a kid's life, too -- what they should eat and when; what they should wear; where they can go; when to come inside; when to take a bath; when to go to bed; when to get up; when to pick up toys or clean their room; even what they can watch on TV.

I remember growing up couldn't come fast enough, just so I wouldn't have any rules ... anyway, I wrote this poem from my inner child's point of view:


Parents sure have lots of rules,
things to do and not do.
I’ll be glad when I get big
and growing up is gone through.

I won’t need a dentist
or a barber for my hair,
and I’ll go buy a chocolate cake
that I won’t have to share.

Maybe, I’ll stay up all night,
eat junk and watch TV.
If I want, I’ll sleep all day.
No more rules for me!

“How will you get up for work?
You might get fired”, Mom said.
“You won’t make any money
by sleeping late in bed.”

Why would I need money?
Who needs money anyway?
Rules are bad. When I grow up
I’ll do fun things all day.

"How will you pay your rent?
How will you buy a car?
How would you buy your grownup clothes?
(you’ll be bigger than you are) .

You’ll have to buy the food you eat.
You’ll have to have a phone.
How will you pay your heating bill,
‘cause surely you’ll have a home?"

I hadn’t thought of all of that.
I can’t do that stuff!
It doesn’t sound like fun at all
and I just don’t know enough.

Mom said as I get bigger,
the rules get bigger, too,
but if we start at my age,
it's not so hard to do.

She said, "People grow like houses,
step by step, and brick by brick.
That’s the way we all grow up
and having rules is part of it."

There's an irony here.  We're finally grownups.  Now we miss those days of childhood innocence with its gentle, black or white, good or bad, right or wrong rules ...

(From the book, "Barking Spiders 2", by CJ Heck)

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