Posted by: Diane | April 20, 2012

“Rules Are Used To Be Break”

The title of this blog is one of my favorite saying from Coco, my special 21 year-old friend from China. She said these infamous words a while back when she was voicing her opinion about some nonsensical school rules. Despite the fact that she spoke with great vigor, it was difficult for me to keep a straight face.

When I was teaching high school, I encouraged students to ask questions – questions about everything, including rules.  I believe that one can be respectful and inquisitive at the same time.  There ARE rules out there that don’t make sense – “because I said so” doesn’t always cut it. There are also traditions that need to be questioned, rather than everyone blindly following them, because “that’s the way it’s always been.” Change isn’t made by people who color between the lines.

Perhaps you’ve heard a version of this story, or perhaps you’ve had a similar experience:

As a girl watched her mother prepare dinner, the girl asked “Why do you always cut the end off the roast?”

The mother replied “That’s the way my mother always made it.”

When the girl asked why her grandmother cut the end off the roast, the mother didn’t know. But the next time they saw Grandma, the girl asked why she always cut the end off the roast. The grandmother replied “Because the pan was too small.”

Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. Asking “why” isn’t a challenge to authority – it’s a healthy sign that a person is thinking.

My grandson,Phoenie, had some profound words to say recently about rules.

Nana, the rules that God makes aren’t silly but I’m telling you, some of the rules that people make are ridiculous. Like in my old school, when I was in Kindergarten, I fell off my chair by mistake and I had to go to the Principal’s office.”

Phoenie vividly remembers that day because as he sat in that school office, many people walked past and stared at him. He felt so embarassed and although it happened almost three years ago, he can recall his feelings like it happened yesterday.  He’s in Grade 2 now and doesn’t have trouble with rules, especially when someone takes time to explain “why.”  He feels secure within the boundaries, both at school and home, but he also feels secure in asking questions. I like that because these are the training grounds for future “out of the box” thinkers.

I’m very thankful for the boundaries that God speaks of in His Word. I accept that His idea of what is “good” is ultimately good for me and I understand that it’s important to obey what the scriptures teach. It’s the manmade rules that I struggle with at times. Sometimes, this curiosity gets me in trouble but most often, it stimulates conversation and challenges people to think a little harder.

Not all rules are “used to be break” but not all rules are to be followed either.


  1. I agree with Phoenie!

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