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  • Writer's pictureAndi

WHY?




I am a good girl. I am a rule follower.


For most of my life, I have happily followed rules because they make me feel safe. I am a people pleaser and I like consistency and predictability. I always believed (was taught) that whoever made the rules knew better so I should not question and just follow. In public school we wore school uniforms, and we were taught “children are meant to be seen and not heard”; “respect your elders and those in charge”.


I remember reading an article right after the 9-11 terrorist attack that there were safety announcements in the companies located in the twin towers stating that employees should not panic and stay at their desks until further instructions were given. The article was written by a young woman whose father was a firefighter. He told her to disregard the announcements and RUN! The group that followed her got out of the tower safely. I remember thinking that I would possibly have stayed at my desk. Rule follower. Good girl. But now I know better.


Over the past two years, I have come to realize that most of our rules come from society and past generations. While writing this, a memory surfaced from when I was about 9 years old. I had a friend sleepover at my house. We came out of the shower, dried off, and she remained naked as she walked through my house to call her mom to say goodnight. I was horrified and told her to quickly get dressed as my brothers would see her. She said she did not even think about it because she only had a sister and they always walked around naked after their showers. I still think it’s strange when I think about her family walking around naked, even in the privacy of their own home. I do not have a good reason why I find it strange, other than it was never something we did in our house.


I do feel there are many rules in place to keep us safe, like driving signals and speed limits. However, there are also rules that we blindly follow because society has conditioned it into us and “it’s just the way it’s done”. The way to discern if a rule is worthy of following is to reflect on the “Why?” If you can come up with a really good answer, then continue with it.


From serious questions to the outlandish ask yourself “Why?”


· Why do we blindly follow the religion we were born into?

· Why do women in western culture wear high heels when they are so uncomfortable?

· Why do women wear makeup & nail polish? Better yet, humans are mammals, so imagine if a female hippopotamus walked up to a drinking hole with blue toenail polish thinking she was “all that”? Are you also laughing imagining it?

· Why do we eat at set times during the day, even when we are not hungry?

· Why are certain foods tied to breakfast, lunch, or dinner?


Take a moment to pause here and reflect on the rules in your life that might cause you to question your “Why?”. Rules also change through generations if children come from open minded families. Before I was married, my parents’ generation frowned upon living together before marriage. Now that my children are of dating age, I feel living together is a pre-requisite to give the best odds at a successful marriage. “Marriage” is also a society rule.


Another rule is that children must be in school unless it’s a school vacation. However, a surprise day out of school to go on a museum outing with you will be remembered, but another day in school will be a blur. I was proud of myself when I took my children (ages of 6 – 14) out of school for a full week for a family destination wedding which was not during school vacation. I really wanted my children to experience this time with extended family and partake in the wedding celebration. I requested their classwork ahead which was denied so not to encourage parents doing this. I then spoke to each teacher about life being short and family vs. school and got their work. While at the resort my children happily did their workbooks during the heat of the day in the hotel lobby. They came back to school ahead of their classes and the memory is still priceless for all of us. I am glad I questioned that rule! We manage to take time for sad things, like bereavement, but we question taking time for the happy occasions.


For parents: How many of you have responded to your childrens’ “But why mom?” with “Because I said so!” or “Because that’s just the way it’s done!” Next time, really think about your answer when your child says “WHY?” If you don’t have a concrete answer, maybe it’s time to make a change and rethink that rule.


If you feel you need a Do Over in rethinking your “Why?” for yourself or your family, I am here to help deconstruct with you.


~Andi






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