i am a rule follower. if it’s a rule, it’s meant to be followed. it’s who i am and what i do… or rather was and did.

until very recently i followed any rule out there. it didn’t so much matter who created the rule and i never stopped to think about whether or not it was illogical or unnecessary. i had just assumed all rules were necessary. it took one very simple incident to change that for me.

all my children attend a public charter school – this school has no hot lunch program so we must pack lunches. i picked them up from school one day and a11 (my daughter) said to me that they can’t bring drinks for lunch anymore, because one came open and got all the lunch boxes wet. i ask the other kids if this goes for them, too. nope, it’s just a11’s class. normally, i would have just said okay, no more drinks for you. but something about this just seemed dumb and stupid and moronic and idiotic and you get the idea. i ask the kids to hold on and head up the stairs to a11’s classroom. when i ask her teacher about this she tells me exactly what a11 said. i’m thinking to myself, you could come up with no other options? you know, like, maybe we will no longer toss our lunch boxes into a heaping pile in a laundry basket?

so for the very first time in my life, and i am not exaggerating too much here, i think to myself i am not following that rule – we are not doing that. accidents happen, and to punish an entire classroom for an accident – that’s idiotic. and i voice this thought, well, not exactly this thought. i let the teacher know that a11 will be bringing a drink with her in her lunch box. we won’t make a big deal about it, but this is a rule we won’t be following. the next day a11 takes a drink with her. and the class together comes up with an option that seems reasonable to them – they can bring drinks but must take them out of their lunch boxes and place them in a separate laundry basket.

i feel i must add here that i have the greatest admiration for teachers. they don’t have an easy job and they are way underpaid. i also firmly believe that many of the problems in our schools could be fixed if parents realized the power they have as advocates for their children and if schools realized the resource their parents could be, above and beyond helping in the classroom and the pto. the school my kids attend is a grand example of parent advocates. the founders are all parents who wanted more for their kids than the local schools provided. they had tried to work within these schools and were not heard. they could have just accepted the status quo, but thank God they didn’t. they bucked the system, fought the rules and my family has been incredibly blessed by their hard work and desire for more.

i have had one or two occasions since this incident to say, nope, not gonna follow that rule. even the rules i made up myself. what a rebel.

monica, now 37, colorado springs

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