Who wants obedient children anyway?
I like rules.
And I like to follow the rules. I always have.
I feel safer when I’m abiding by the rules. I feel more confident.
Rules help me understand my place in society.
I really, really like rules.
My children, on the other hand, hate following rules.
I had an inkling that I was in for a rough ride around about the time that my eldest learnt to say the word ‘why’. He’s almost eight now. And he still responds with ‘why?’ every time I ask him to do something.
Then his brother and sister came along, and they proved to be even more adept at pushing the boundaries.
I don’t think there is a single rule in our household that my children still take notice of.
They all fight to stay up past their set bedtimes.
They’ve learnt how to bypass the child settings on computer devices so they can bag some extra screen time.
And I’m forever catching them sneaking snacks out of the kitchen after I’ve told them that they’re not allowed any more.
At times, it feels like I have absolutely no control over them. The stricter I try to be, the more they push back.
And when you’re someone who has always been a stickler for authority, raising three children who have no respect for rules can be an anxiety inducing experience.
But on the days where I feel like I’m at my wits end, I like to remind myself of a little phrase that I stumbled across a few years ago:
‘Obedience is not a desirable adult trait’.
It has stuck with me because it’s so true. No self respecting adult wants to be referred to as obedient. You would never list it as a key skill on a CV.
Obedience may be a virtuous trait, but it won’t get you very far in life. Chances are it’ll end up being an obstacle on your path to success.
Imagine that you have two candidates applying for the same job. Who’s likely to impress the interviewer more? The one who does everything by the book, or the one who has the initiative to think outside the box?
It won’t be the by-the-book applicant, I can assure you of that based on my own personal experience.
So every time that my three little rascals figure out a new way to bend the rules, I simply remind myself that it’ll all be worth it when they’re older.
Because, at the rate they’re going, my goodness they’ll fly high.