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September 30, 2017

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Oh, wait. On rereading, I remember one other time where a “punishment” was proposed but declined (and you thought that only happened in football). A group of kids from another town—i.e., not someone we knew—asked to play. We said yes, and they came one afternoon. "While they were here, someone broke the little kids’ hoop (a regular basket, but hung seven or eight feet high instead of ten). Next time that group came and asked to use the court, we asked them who had broken the kids’ basket. No one admitted it, and they refused to rat on each other. We said they each had to pay a dollar every time they came until they’d paid enough to replace the broken hoop.

They left and never came back."

Just like the ones who broke Iraq. Except for that last sentence.

Great post, Janie.

I used to teach social studies to disabled kids. We had rules for the game of class room discussion: Discuss ideas and events, not people.
Speak one at a time.
Stay on topic.
Facts first, opinions later.
Be nice,

I am amazed at how few people go by those rules. Yes, I konw I break them sometimes but at least I konw I am breaking a rule! My amazement is for people who are unconscious of these rules and have no problem with defamation and hatemongering as routine political discourse.

Guilty as charged.

Yes, terrific post JanieM. When I have more time, I'd like to think about what my rules are/have been. I love “big guy basketball” by the way!

As I was sitting down to read this I was thinking about people who claim they Don't care what others think of them. Oddly I do care, and to draw a line yo the post, it is why I always try to be nice, not always successfully.

Be nice seems like the rule best understood that is most often broken.

Breaking bb hoops at 7 or 10 feet is something teenagers seem to try to do, while not admitting it mostly.

Not tracking dirt, much less mud into the gym is also pretty simple.

4500 screws, now that's hard.

When my kids were little, I started out with few rules, but quickly had to introduce some. Transgressions involving a specific toy were punished by immediate removal of that toy. I very rapidly moved to permanent removal, because transgressions would *always* be repeated. "I forgot." "Bobby did it (so you should let me do it)." And so on.

I always, always explained my reasons. No long things were allowed (belts, key chains, sticks) because the kids would always swing them around (nice whirring noise) and someone would get hit painfully by the swinging object. Marbles went away because they got left on the stairways (we had several). And fighting over, say, dress-up clothes, meant removal of the item of clothing. Eventually, I am sad to say, all of the dress-up box went away. I didn't miss the long things though, or the marbles, very much.

When they got older, into their teens, we relaxed some of the rules, but only until the first incident of mis-use.

Right now, our 40-yr old (yes!) is living with us, and we have to watch her guests very carefully. It's getting to be fall, and we will need to put our sign back up, the one that says "WIPE YOUR FEET", but the only real reason that sign is obeyed is that we are so often sitting in the living room, and can *say* "Come back, and Wipe Your Feet!"

Apparently, a lot of people *were* raised in a barn.

"Speak one at a time.
Stay on topic.
Facts first, opinions later.
Be nice."

My husband and I almost broke up once. We managed to get back together by agreeing on these rules exactly! Although the specific words were different.

Then we were able to discuss all of our differences without making them worse. Our system had one additional feature. When either of us felt that one of the rules had been ignored, rather than say "*You* said such and such," we could ask for a "rewrite" and the other would find other words to express the same idea.

lovely post. Dealing with some things like this and it seems that the world is suffering from the difficulty to decide on a simple set of rules. There is also a notion (Dr S. might correct me here) in Judaism that the rules are not where things start or stop, but you are supposed to pull up _before_ those rules. I can't find the essay I read it in, but the idea was that rules have a particular space beside them and you don't go right up to the line, you aim to stay out of that 'zone'. What amazes me recently is that there are so many people who want to argue about how to write the rules because they can think of some situation where that rule could be broken and then some dire result can occur.

In regards to the basketball hoop, I am also amazed how difficult it is for people to admit guilt. When did 'I was wrong to think that' leave the vocabulary of phrases we could say?

Just a quick note, the comment in the previous thread, written after this one, was caught in the spam filter and looking there, I found a number of earlier comments, trapped, like bizarre insects in amber. I won't pull those up as the threads are closed, but if you have something of vital geostrategic import, drop a line to libjpn via the only email you'll ever need and I'll check. I'll also try to keep a better eye on things. Thx

I had only one rule for my children when they were little, or at least only one which needed stating often enough to be memorable. And that was "no games with doors".

I realise one of my main rules is "show respect" in the sense of not making anyone feel small, and this differs from "be nice" in various ways, but I am on my phone so can't drill down satisfactorily. Maybe later.

When I posted my last comment, I skipped over something I meant to write about Marty's comment, which is yes, it is noticed (that you try to be nice) and it is appreciated. Thanks for that Marty.

To Marty -- I second lj, and I am (I know it's not the first time) going to try to reciprocate. That's not to say I will likely agree with you about some things. ;-)

But I will try to be less snarky.

Also, I am going to fact-check myself on the 4500 screws. To echo Tolkien, some tales grow in the telling. But the screws are placed one foot apart for the length and width of the floor (to forestall dead spots!), and maybe there are some that are more strategically placed as well. I haven't studied the floor in a long time.

***

GftNC -- I look forward to your thoughts on the difference between "be nice" and "show respect." I agree that they're not the same thing.

I have always been bemused at my own decision in putting "be nice" in only the third place in the Rules of Travel. But the rules were made for very young children, and implicitly -- this wasn't conscious on my part, it was a reaction to events -- "safety first" came at the top. If they ran away from me in different directions in a crowded airport, we were in trouble.

"Keep track of your stuff" gave them some responsibility for their own luggage -- after that trip, whenever we traveled they each had a little knapsack or bag of their own. They took their responsibilities seriously!

"Be nice" was one of a long string of semi-failed attempts on my part to get them to stop bickering. They grew out of it eventually, but until that time it would probably have been better if I had just schooled myself to be less bugged by it.

older: Apparently, a lot of people *were* raised in a barn.

This made me chuckle. Your story of telling adults to wipe their feet reminds me of the office I spend some time in when I go to Massachusetts. There's a tiny galley kitchen on each floor, and on the floor where I work there's a sign, put there by the office manager, reminding people not to leave dishes in the sink, not to leave food in the fridge to spoil, etc. etc.

Whenever I see that sign I want to replace it with one that says, "Mama's not comin'."

The only rule I really remember from growing up was:
Leave gates the way (open/closed) you found them.

Living on a ranch, and having the run of it, that was a big deal.

"Be nice" was my instruction for my son too, and he is.

I think most decent Americans go that way.

But if that is the case, how did we end with these types in the White House and much of our government, not to mention most of their supporting infrastructure Why do we coddle sociopaths?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkJcFGvNgcY&t=187s

That video stolen from Hullabaloo, here:

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/10/weve-been-waiting-for-that-first-big.html

I've revised my be nice credo over the years.

Be nice. Never punch down.

When forced to look up, request that those above be nice. When they aren't, punch up, and hard.

I like the pithy credos expressed here.

We have to admit though that as parents in many cases each one is prefaced with "How many times have I told you ..."

My mother solved the bickering thing with a frying pan. Rules are all very well, but at some point enforcement enters the pic or the rules go out.

I did find, that with disabled kids, they were usually compliant with rules when they knew wha they were. In other words, they came to rule willing to comply with rules. In my experience this ws true even of kids labeled "SBD" for specific behavior disorder. They wanted to be nice and wanted people to be nice to them.

The exceptions were the brats, which I had rarely since most of my kids cane from poor backgrounds, and the really truly mentally ill kids which I got sometimes when mental institutions kicked them out as too hard to work with.

Nothing worked iwth the brats except consequences. Nothing worked with the paranoid schizophrenics, psychotics, and wannabe rapists except time, They always self-destructed.

So...I guess it isnt that great an insight to conclude that people generally do want to operate within a set of reasonable perimeters. I think that is a big part of the harm the Republican party has done over the last decades: normalizing defamation and lies as standard political discourse, They have gotten us used to perimeters taht should be unacceptable.

So. Be nice. Be empathetic. Show respect.
What is the difference, and why am I more concerned with the third?

Nothing of what follows applies to what you tell kids; I get that you tell them something simple, which is easy for them to understand. Be nice is good enough til you can have the more nuanced discussion that I hope would follow.

Be nice. I suppose to me this seems superficial, allows for the possibility of fakery. Like Be polite (also quite good), pretending to be nice, when secretly harbouring feelings which are quite otherwise. Better than being nasty, but not good enough.

Be empathetic. Much better, and a really important quality to encourage in kids, to the extent that you can do it (I think you can, but it may be that empathy is inborn or not, and that the absence puts you on the sociopathic spectrum).

Show respect. I imagine I was influenced by being brought up in the far East. The concept of “face”, and making sure that you did not cause people to lose face, must have been around although I don’t remember it being discussed much. In any case, I am very sure that humiliating someone, making them feel small, is a great sin, and something one must do everything possible to avoid. In order to be able to do this, you need empathy of course. Then, when discussing or interacting with someone else where humiliation is not an issue, but where disagreement on small or great matters has the potential to create more heat than light, respect for them (as for anyone really) involves seeing them as another person, with views they are entitled to and which they have acquired through different life experience from your own (even if they are views with which you violently disagree). It’s much easier to do this if you assume good will (which in any case is often there, and then reciprocal). It’s also much easier if you make the effort to be rigorously fair.

But at the same time, one of my most important rules is Be honest, or Be authentic. This makes everything trickier, because while you are being respectful, you cannot compromise your own opinions, but it is usually still possible to have meaningful dealings/conversations. The only time I cannot guarantee to keep to this kind of course is when dealing with people who hold truly horrible opinions, who are, to give on example, openly and unapologetically racist. I can’t keep to respectful engagement with them, but there are cases where better people than I am have done so, and have converted them. So it’s worth the effort, if you can do it.

So those are my rules.
Be empathetic.
Be respectful.
Be honest.

It all sounds pretty preachy, I admit, but nonetheless they are mine, and I try to live by them.

pro bono: Every family is different. Our kids used to play soccer in the front rooms. There were two older girls and two younger boys and each team had a girl and a boy.

We have two large front rooms with an arch between, and we owned at the time four large and four small traffic cones, with which we could create a soccer field almost anywhere.

We used to push back the furniture and set up the cones, and let the kids play inside in the evenings. The rule indoors was "no air balls".

We had a lot less *stuff* in those days. We'd never be able to do it now.

I did find, that with disabled kids, they were usually compliant with rules when they knew wha they were. In other words, they came to rule willing to comply with rules. In my experience this ws true even of kids labeled "SBD" for specific behavior disorder. They wanted to be nice and wanted people to be nice to them.

It's been my observation that kids want, need even, rules and boundaries. Consistent ones. When they don't have them (usually because they have parents who are obsessed with not "repressing" them), they get really panicky. And keep going to every greater lengths, in a desperate effort to try to find the limits. I think it's a security thing.

GftNC: Thanks for your thoughtful post.

Show respect. I imagine I was influenced by being brought up in the far East. The concept of “face”, and making sure that you did not cause people to lose face, must have been around although I don’t remember it being discussed much. In any case, I am very sure that humiliating someone, making them feel small, is a great sin, and something one must do everything possible to avoid. In order to be able to do this, you need empathy of course.

This sounds right. Until we get to this:

But at the same time, one of my most important rules is Be honest, or Be authentic.

Which is the real rule.

In real life, I tend to be less than honest, until I'm honest - and then maybe too much so. In ObWi life, I think honesty (authenticity in opinion) is more important than anything else.

I attend and host convivial dinner parties. My friends are approximately with me on most political issues. I don't gossip much, so I don't have that to contribute.

My friend talks about her son rejecting reason because reason is "corporate. Paraphrase "It's not good to vote Democratic just because the Republican is a fascist - you're supposed to vote for a candidate because you believe!" Of course I don't tell my friend that her son is a fascist enabler.

I do that here though. I feel that people who comment here are interested in learning about what other people really think. So, yeah, I'm honest. Some "decent" people, even here, are fascist enablers. They don't think of themselves that way. But maybe they should reconsider. That's what words are for.

I've never been a troll. I don't see the point of being "polite" when I feel I'm here to discuss the bare truth.

Also, let's face it (let me face it), some people are in a different place, mentally, than I am. It takes me awhile to realize that, but what if a person, who has whatever different way of thinking, takes charge of the country. I'm supposed to be okay with that? "Nice", "respectful" - not that simple.

When I reread this: In real life, I tend to be less than honest

OMG. I don't mean that I'm dishonest in the sense of scam artist. I mean emotionally honest, Hope that there's no confusion about whether I'm stealing things from people. I have quite strict ethical boundaries about law, finances, etc.

My partner often says that a rule growing up in her house with a little brother was "no fighting in the kitchen". An interesting specificity.

It's been quite a while, but I seem to remember something similar from my childhood. Although I think it was more like "no playing in the kitchen."

as Dromiceiomimus says "What is traveling but to visit alternate possibilities of being, all proceeding from the same basic premise?"

http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=3202

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