Oklahoma joined several other states this week in allowing women to go topless in public. Not only can a woman go without a shirt, anyone is free to take pictures if that’s what she chooses to do. Only teens are protected from photographs of their nudity because that would be child pornography, we are told. All of this because women must to be allowed to go topless if men are allowed to go shirtless. Rules. You have to wonder…
I know a missionary in Hawaii who was recently prohibited from offering a Bible to an inmate who wanted to read the scriptures. The reason? It would be against the rules. In this case, however, the rule made it possible for everyone in the prison to receive a Bible because no one could have a Bible unless everyone could have a Bible. The church there was glad to ensure that every inmate received a copy.
One of the tasks of Legislators is framing new rules. Every year each state gets a new set of rules to add to the already burdened law books. Old rules remain (you can’t spit on the sidewalk, you can’t cross the street except at the corner, etc..) but new rules are added. We need lawyers because no one can remember all the rules.
Some politicians find ways around the rules by choosing which rules to enforce and which to ignore. Despite taking an oath to uphold the Constitution or the Law, any Mayor, Governor or even a President can simply ignore a rule because they don’t like it. What might be considered common sense can so easily become political pandering.
There is one rule that goes back to ancient times. It is referred to as the Golden Rule. If everyone followed this one rule, many of the others would become unnecessary. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. Straightforward. Easy to interpret.
Apparently, the Golden Rule isn’t enough to protect us. We have a bunch of other rules that we sometimes use to squash the Golden Rule. “Always look out for number one,” is a good example of how we use one rule to negate another, more important rule. According to some, as long as you are following some rule from some source, you are still on the right track.
Love and Logic parents are familiar with the parental code, “As long as it doesn’t cause a problem for you or anyone else.” It’s actually a form of the Golden Rule. Play your music as loud as you enjoy it—as long as it doesn’t cause a problem for the rest of us. Stay up reading as late as you want—as long as it doesn’t cause a problem…you get it.
Finding ways to summarize the already prohibitive number of rules in the world is a challenge. It requires wisdom and commitment to the common good. Rules and laws help us act with confidence that life is better when we are law-abiding citizens.
Simplifying the number of rules in life is part of the wisdom parents can share with their offspring. By making sure there are rules and then by making sure they are simple enough to observe for the greater good, everyone can enjoy life and be happy.
I just made a new rule. Help your children learn to take care of themselves and others. It’s a rule.