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To Rule or Not to Rule


A Conversation About Rules

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend tonight about rules.  It went something like this…

Me: I have never had any rules in my home. As a father I chose to decide everything collaboratively rather than make a rule and enforce it with consequences of some sort.

Friend:  So did you decide on rules together as a family?

Me: No we didn’t do that because I didn’t want to have any rules.

What makes a rule?

Friend: A rule is enforced by some consequence.

Me: Exactly and I never wanted to use any punishment or consequences with my daughter because I never wanted to exert power over her.

Everyone Do Their Own Dishes

Friend: What about making a rule that everyone does their dishes?

Me: Let me ask you, why is it important for everyone to do their dishes?

Friend: So that everyone chips in and shares the work.

Me: Why is it important that everyone chips in?

Friend: It shows respect for the community and each other.

Me : Why is it important to show respect?

Friend: Because of love.

Me: Ah, now we’ve hit the essence of things.


Love Is The Foundation of Doing Dishes

Recognizing that love is the essence of everything, including doing the dishes, my approach always was to create an atmosphere of harmony and love, mutual respect and equal sharing of power.

This way my daughter naturally wanted to take care of the community, of the household, because she felt love, power and ownership over her own home.

Her Home Is Her Happiest Place

Her home is a place of joy and acceptance. When she is at home she can truly be herself. She doesn’t have to hide who she is or act in a certain way to gain my approval.

Living in this kind of atmosphere she cherishes the harmony that exists and wants to do what she can to preserve it.

The Need for Rules Disappears

With this kind of approach there is no need for rules. Instead we function from a place of naturally occurring love and respect and everything flows from there.

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