The other day, my seven-year old son asked,
"Mama, it's good to break the rules sometimes, right?"
And immediately, with no hesitation, I declared, "Absolutely."
And then I back tracked, "Well, which rules are you talking about?" (insinuating...if they're my rules, they're non-negotiable...insert smile emoticon.)
Our dialogue gave me pause. It's funny how we all know that the leaders, teachers, people in our lives who have made the most difference are those who have deviated from the norm.
They weren't willing to be constrained by the way that it's always been done or by the status quo. They're okay not to play it safe. They're not afraid to test the waters, push the envelope, and to embrace change.
But how do you teach that to a seven-year old who's trying to justify talking in class when what the teacher's saying is boring? The truth is that most of the "normal" that we experience in life is boring, mundane, rote, habitual. So why wouldn't someone want to shake things up a bit?
The trick for me is going to be to teach him how to pick and choose his deviant behavior. Because it's not so much the method to madness as it is the purpose for which its being done. And sometimes, the ends do justify the means.
So even though it's a slippery slope, I'll always encourage my kids to color outside of the lines, to question authority, to not play along...as long as the purpose for doing so is to try to derive something better than what exists today.