The world consists of two kinds of people, rule followers and rule breakers.
I know when rule-breaking turns into a bad thing however, at what point does rule following turn into a bad thing as well? My daughter, a UCLA freshman, was granted in-state residency when we moved from Connecticut to California but ONLY after incessant interrogation.
Although we were here for one year, sending our younger children to school for one year, and paying taxes for one year, we needed to have an in-state license or voting card for one year to qualify. That was the rule. I was told that it didn’t matter where my daughter lived. What mattered was where her parents resided since we were paying the tuition. One year later after resubmitting many forms and patiently waiting, we were given our first tuition reprieve as in-state residents.
At the same time, my second daughter was now required to apply as an in-state resident for California schools. With a 3.9 GPA, she was rejected from 10 out of 13 schools. Everyone had shared that it was impossible to keep up with the standards that kids had created in California and that if you didn’t have a 4.4 or apply from out of state, you weren’t getting in.
Flash forward to the end of freshman year of college. I was contacted by UCLA. They reversed their decision. I was being charged an extra $7,000 for out of state tuition. Apparently my daughter, who was the student, did not have her voting card in time to show that she had intent to remain in California (two weeks late and clearly stated in fine print in the manual). She must follow the rules and thus our in-state tuition was taken away.
When I asked if my other daughter who had applied as an in-state resident could be looked at as an out of state resident, they stated "No." It wasn’t in the rules.
This happened at church while I was teaching a catechism class. My class time ran a few minutes over. The teacher behind me came in and demanded that I leave immediately. When I asked her if she could just give me another minute, she replied “No it was in the rules." I needed to be out at 15 minutes before the next class.” The kids and their parents looked at this teacher wondering if Jesus would have done the same.
When do rules become unfair? At what point do we say the rules are meant to establish boundaries and that there are extenuating circumstances? The only thing I could think of was when we die would we ever want people looking at the casket to say “Wow that person was amazing. She was the best rule follower I have ever met!”
We need to teach our kids to understand that there are times when things are not absolute. When we leave this earth, we aren’t going to be remembered for rule following but rather kindness and compassion. Maybe it’s time that we understand that things aren’t always black and white and leave room for the grey, even if it isn’t in the rules.
For more with Wendy visit lifewithwendy.com.