There is a saying I tell my kids and I am sure it would be met with much disdain by others. It’s a sort of sarcastic remark but there is some truth in it.
“Rules are meant to be broken.”
Now before you think that I am promoting a rebellious spirit in my kids, let me explain…
My kids are rule followers. Some more than others but for the most part their Dad and I have taught them to respect authority and they do. But we are also teaching them right and wrong through biblical wisdom and morality based on God’s laws not society’s laws. Sometimes these two contradict each other and it’s important to give my kids the right perspective on rules.
When one of my daughters was in elementary school, there was a girl who was bullying her on occasion. I wouldn’t call it excessive bullying but my daughter was getting upset over it. One day this girl pushed her in line and my daughter didn’t know how to handle this. I had the conversation about how it was important to stand up against the bully. Don’t push back (if you don’t have to) but verbally stand up and let the bully student know you won’t tolerate that. This was hard for my some-what shy daughter to do. She cried and I knew this was a real growing and learning experience for her.
The one thing I didn’t want to do was be the hovering parent that got involved. This was one of the many difficult parenting lessons that I had to experience in giving my daughter the independence and the tools to defend herself on her own.
The other aspect is that I tried to have my daughter understand why this student was bullying. There was something hurting in her to make her want to hurt others. It turned out the girl’s parents were going through a nasty divorce and my daughter began to understand that she wasn’t really the object of the bully’s hatred.
Later the two girls became friendly, a lesson was learned, and life moved on.
Now I share all this because I am concerned with how schools are teaching children about defending themselves and the life lessons regarding bullies.
Schools are now teaching students that if they defend themselves (physically or verbally) they will get in just as much trouble as the bully. Basically, schools are promoting non-resistance. My kids are learning at school the exact opposite of what I am teaching them at home. I want my kids to fight their own battles, to learn to defend themselves appropriately, and I want them to learn the tools now how to stand up for themselves so that they will know how to do it in real (grown-up) life confrontations.
Schools are afraid of giving students the right and freedom to defend themselves because of all the violent acts we as a nation have experienced in our schools. I get it. It’s understandable but reverting to control is the equivalent of me being the hovering parent that tries to fight my child’s own battles. It doesn’t work that way and it will not solve the problems of our society of hurting children that want to react in rage because of painful life circumstances.
This parent objects to this new and growing school philosophy of disciplining the bully and the bullied. That’s not a rule that my children should obey because we live in a broken world and evil is real. Allowing control to replace self-defense is an act of aggression in itself. If we don’t give our own children the tools now to stand up to adversity, how are we going to defend our own country against the evil of this world?
When rules don’t make sense and don’t teach values with life-affirming lessons they are MEANT TO BE BROKEN. I am not backing down off that phrase because I want my children to understand the value of a good rule vs. a bad one. Teaching my children the value of self-respect as well as respect for others is more important than blindly following authority that uses control as a means to an end.