The short answer is – we all do.
I know, I know ‘rules are made to be broken’ and ‘it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission’. I’m sure we can think of a hundred different comebacks that make rules seem obsolete, stifling, and downright dangerous.
Besides, you can’t tell me that you don’t have personal rules. Things that you do because they make your life easier or you do out of a sense of obligation. And if you don’t I would think it’s safe to say you don’t have many people in your life.
Rules create the standards by which we all live. Of course there are the arbitrary kind that serve no other purpose than to feed someone’s neurosis, but most are created for the most mundane reason – to avoid being hurt.
You know, don’t touch the stove when it’s on, don’t go home with a stranger you meet in a bar, don’t mouth off to your boss.
Because we know there are consequences. Rules allow us to take responsibility for our actions and most are created after mistakes have been made – hence the standards.
But it seems the consequences have been taken out of the equation lately, making rules obsolete. Sure there’s shaming both online and off, but really most everyone can do whatever they want whenever they want without any fear. But it seems that the only ones who are shamed now are those who are trying to enforce rules and standards that were the society’s norm not that long ago.
It almost feels like we’re living in a house with a bunch of adolescents who are home alone for the first time. Who need to test the waters to see if all the rules they have had to live by up until now are valid and relevant. Which is good as long as it reinforces the need for personal standards and at some point we all grow up.
At some point we all say, ‘Hey, if I take responsibility for my own actions and my own life and make a set of rules which everyone can respect society won’t need to make them for me so I don’t end up at the store in see-through pants and a halter top. Oh, and I will obtain and retain a certain amount of respect.’
The problem is that no one is growing up. Life has become some kind of slip n’ slide where our standards of living and how we treat others go progressively lower. No one has the good sense to pause for just a second to see where all of the ‘no consequence’ behavior is going to lead us.
We’ve all seen and possibly shared the pictures of people at Wal-Mart. It’s impossible to look away. Those people aren’t contained in Wal-Mart anymore. Take a look around at any mall or shopping plaza and you’ll see.
Or, better yet, take a look in the mirror…
Standards people! There’s nothing wrong with having rules and standards. They build self-confidence and respect and a foundation from which we can grow. And make it possible for our society to deal with bigger issues.
What would happen if everyone took responsibility for themselves and their behavior?
I honestly don’t have an answer for that, but I’m definitely going to mull it over for a while. If you would care to share your ideas or theories, I’d love to hear them.