The other day, my daughter's teacher noticed I wasn't wearing the sticker from the office and I was on campus after the bell rang. Oops. I kind of laughed and shrugged my shoulders. She proceeded to say, "Your daughter told me on the second day of school that 'rules are meant to be broken.'" I noticed her raised eyebrow...
Hmmm. She got me there. I did actually say that to my dear sweet nine year old. What kind of mom does that? Sometimes, believe it or not, a really good mom. Lucky for me, her teacher and I go way back, and she really just wanted to know what prompted me to tell my daughter such a thing. She was laughing at me. So, I told her.
My daughter is a see's things in black and white kind of girl. In fact, out of my three girls, two of them are very straight laced by the books kinds of kids. And while on the whole this is a wonderful thing, there are times, when rules are meant to be broken. Or at the very least bent a little.
Okay, here's what started this whole thing. This sounds silly, but last year, my daughter had an autobiographical book report due. She read about Walt Disney, and wrote her report in the first person. She was supposed to dress up as the character she researched for extra credit while delivering the report. She has this very cool red velvet robe I'd made for big sister a long time ago (Harry Potter Quidditch Robes for a Midnight Sale). I thought it'd be great, if she wore the red robes and her Sorcerer Mickey Mouse Ears Headband to deliver her report. How fun is that? Walts best buddy delivering the speech about him...so clever. But, my rule following kid wouldn't hear a word of it. "Teacher said we have to dress like the person our book's about." I tried reasoning, explaining this was Walt Disney out of the box thinking, that it'd be cool and her teacher would love it! When that didn't work, I told her that rules were sometimes meant to be broken. She showed up at school in a blazer, slacks, shirt tie and shoes we'd picked up at Goodwill. So put in context, IMHO, it wasn't a horrible thing I'd told her.
This year, we were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. The shuttle Endeavor took it's last flight over the State of California. We could take a morning off school, play a lil' hooky, and bop on down to the Capitol to see something truly amazing and once in a lifetime. Endeavor piggy backing a big old plane, flying low to the ground, the air thick with jet engines roaring overhead! I begged, I pleaded. I promised the school wouldn't get its panties in a twist. But, nope, my rule follower would not take me up on a little hooky and she went to school like a good girl.
Later, she confessed that a boy in class had done just what I wanted her to do. Went downtown with his parents to witness a little slice of history. She sounded kind of bummed that she hadn't taken me up on the adventure. Sigh. Maybe next time, she'll be ready to venture into gray, maybe just a little.
Now, don't get me wrong. Most rules are there for a reason, and I don't want her running around willy nilly breaking them just for the heck of it. I want her to use her brain, and know when it's okay, when the rules are actually begging to be broken. Because sometimes, rules are meant to be broken.