Over the weekend, I was thinking about rules. And homeschooling. And unschooling. And school. And society at large.
I like rules. I’m one who speaks up if someone takes a picture in a show that says, “no flash photography.” I speak up when someone cuts in line. I say, “hey”, when people are talking in the movie theater.
I generally don’t like chaos. I like when it’s clear what people are supposed to be doing. I also like family rules, and social rules, and all that.
But there are rules that I cannot stand.
– all kids have to do their homework, no matter what
– everyone has to submit to policemen without question
– kids who have to do what their parents say, even if they don’t understand why
Stuff like that.
I’m a rule breaker. A doubter. A rebel. Because I don’t blindly follow rules. But there are rules that I do follow, and expect other people to follow.
There are two kinds of rules:
1) Rules that benefit the people they effect.
2) Rules that benefit the people who make them.
The first kind of rule are the ones I stand behind, and enjoy having in my life. The second kind piss me off.
In some cases, a rule can be in both categories, or it’s not clear which category it should be in. That’s where debate and discussion are really important. It’s important to know if a rule benefits the people it effects. If it doesn’t, it’s a rule of convenience. A rule of control. A rule to make people into sheep. If it’s a rule that helps people have freedom, have individualism, and to be safe from the chaos of other people who are willing to hurt others to get what they want (whether they are in the general population or in positions of power), they are rules that we need to have around.
In school, what kind of rules dominate? In our homeschools, what kinds of rules dominate?
This is sort of about democracy, and it’s sort of not. What it is about, is whether or not the people enforcing the rules give a damn about the people who are subject to them. Who do the rules protect? Who do they help? Is it even a “who” the rules help at all? Or is it a process that the rules help?
We can all get used to any rules that are thrust upon us. But the rules that we’ll follow, and that don’t require active coercion to enforce, are the rules that make sense.
What do you think about the two kinds of rules? Can you think of some rules that “make sense” to you and some rules that seem not quite right, or piss you off? Can you divide them into the two categories?