3.01.2008

Smack'm with a Rule(r)

People seem to fall into one of two groups - rule keepers and rule breakers. (This, like all generalizations, is somewhat misleading). I fall on the rule keeper side of things most of the time. If the sign says "No Trespassing Beyond This Sign", I won't go past the sign. (Admittedly, I might move the sign further in the desirable direction).

I think I'm a rule keeper because with four kids and leading a team of eight or ten people means I'm often the rule maker, so I have a healthy respect for the rules...and an understanding that the rule makers have a responsibility in making them.

Rule #256 about Rule Making: No Rule Shall Be Made If That Rule Proves Unenforceable.

While I'm a rules guy, I generally think fewer rules are better than lots of rules, because rules often beget more rules. Rules are like bunnies. You either have one rule (or perhaps 3 or 4 old rules) or you have a million of them.

This is the story that got me thinking about this. Long story short, a Mesa, Arizona high school was having a problem with overly affectionate teens, so they made a rule banning all hugs, except for those two seconds or shorter.

I understand the need to get a hold of the hormone-ick convergences in the hallways, but there is not a teacher on the planet who wants to be the time keeper for teen lovin'. Once you cannot (or don't) enforce a rule, you don't have a rule, you have a joke.

My prediction is that this rule will never work, and that in a few weeks the school administration will just ignore the rule (as will the kids) or be forced to throw the smackdown and declare 'no physical contact', something a little less objective than the two second rule.

The takeaway - make rules only when necessary, but make good ones, or you undermine your own authority.

2 comments:

Zack said...

wow!! gotta love my old school district! they actually threatened to take me and some friends to court (at 15-16 yrs old) over church and state issues when I was younger. Mesa is crazy.

Allison said...

Is this kind of like the "hill worth dyin' on" concept?

When I had kids, my grandma told me to pick my battles wisely. She told me that every hill ain't worth dying on.

Except for the sorrowful use of the word "ain't", I think it was good advice. :)