Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Rules of Life.

The Rules of Life.

I think the boys like to test me sometimes.
One of the things that is difficult as a Dad with limited time is that you have to be able to overcome issues in a weekend that have been festering in the boys minds for up to two weeks.This means that when I collect them from school on the alternate Friday I get bombarded by all 3 at the same time as they get in the car. We have had to put a rule in place about not talking over each other or at the same time and another about not showing Dad the thing you did at school until we get home. If we have to park and wait for big brother to come out we take it turns to show Dad what we have in the school bag. It took a while to get this under control because naturally the boys are very excited when I collect them and are desperate to tell me all their news. Of course there is also the competitive element of telling Dad the shared experience first! 

It really is not easy
The point  is that we have "Rules". Simple rules but its often the case that the rules at Dads are different from the other places the boys spend time.So rules is a subject that comes up fairly often. Rules of the house are agreed by everyone and if they boys want to have a rule for something then we discuss it and if we all think its a good rule then we implement it. For example; At bed time if you get ready for bed the first time of asking without moaning or hesitating then you get to come back down and have an extra half an hour. To sit with Dad  cuddle talk  or read whatever even finish off your game if you really have too. But you have to have put dirty clothes in the laundry basket washed face and hands had a wee and brushed your teeth,.If you have missed anything  then you only get 5 minutes. It works really well and it means I have never had an issue at bedtime with any of the boys .The real reward is having a chance to read to each other. I have been encouraging the boys for some time to read to me at bed time as well as the other way round. We usually take it in turns and they absolutely love doing it. Bed times become special and something they look forward too.

So a couple of years ago  my middle son came up with the following; a real doozy of a question.
'Dad, Is there one special rule?'
One special rule? I suppose always say please and thank you,
would be up there, why?
My friends Dad said there's only one rule for life.
Oh dear, this could be awkward. I don't want to undermine another parent but I also need to ensure my boys rethink comments from adults with out questioning them inappropriately or seeming 
to undermine them. So I try to encourage them to think about things. Rather than always giving
a straight answer maybe encourage them to find one. Maybe asking what they think
and working an answer into their thoughts. Not always successfully and sometimes it's
easier to give a straight response but I try not to if possible.
'Oh I see! and did he say what the rule was?'
'You know the thing you always say about do the thing you have to do the first chance you get.'
'Well his is like that. He says;
"Do it to them before they do it to you"!"
Oh right, Well I think I know what he means, but that's not really how I would put it.
How could we say it a little different so it doesn't sound so rough do you think?
I don't know Dad, it depends if you're trying to hurt someone or help them.
Well we wouldn't want to hurt anyone
would we? He shakes his head, The truth is buddy that there isn't one single rule.
I might have put his rule a little differently some times the way we say something 
can make it easier to understand. How about we change it just a little.
How Dad?
Well how about we say "Do it FOR them before they do it FOR you!?
So it is about helping then, like helping someone that wants to help you?
A word cloud to guide us!
I think that's a good way to put it

Phew!.... So I got to thinking, how many rules do you need? 
I worry that we have too many because I don't want to stunt creativity or thought but I
feel the boys enjoy being part of the process of rule making and certainly the structure 
they bring seems to help everybody. So we had a chat and decided to come up with rules
for Life! 

WOW! really? well sort of. The boys wrote huge lists including things like don't pick 
your nose and eat it! or Don't step on a stone in bare feet!?( I don't know either !). 
In the end we put them all together and I edited everything and we agreed to a 
maximum of 50. Still a big number and bearing in mind how many we started with, 
(I think around 260!)it seemed like a good number. have tried to make them short
 and simple and over the years they have changed a little but we've kept at 50.

So Ladies and Gentleman I give you!.....Da Dada Dada daa!

50 rules for life : as created by 3 boys and 1 Dad 

(with judicious editing by Dad!)

Admit mistakes with quickly
Ask who's doing the best way to do it
Be bold have no regrets
Be early or on time
Be regular
Beware someone with nothing to lose
Buy the best you can afford
Call your Mum daily
Carry an organ donor card
Compliment someone every day
Decide difficult tasks Won't go wrong
Do IT the first  chance you get
Do nothing when angry
Drink water at every meal
Enter rooms with confidence
Exercise 30 mins daily
Give blood yearly after you're 18
Gossip? Never!
If you pay and its wrong complain

It's o.k. to say "I don't know."
It's good to say "I'm sorry."
Keep hope alive, never take it away
Keep secrets
Keep your bucket list on you
Keep yourself clean
Learn a trade/instrument or better both
Listen carefully or you may miss it
Look people in the eye
Make new friends, keep old ones
Never cheat
Never underestimate forgiveness
Never walk out on a row with anyone
Pay for work when done not before
Pretend bravery's just as effective as real
Read one new book every week
Say "NO" politely but promptly
Say "please" a lot.
Say "thank you" more
Say opening, not problem
Spend less than you earn
Spend the REQUIRED time at work
Start everyday with a good breakfast
Support a charity with time not money
Treat all you meet like they were you
Use debit cards NOT credit cards
Wage war on  litter 
Watch a sunrise as often as possible
Win wars choose battles wisely
Write a blog/diary daily and keep it!

The End!
If you'd like to add any to the list let me know. 
The only "rule" is you have to remove one for each new one, it was tough, I really wanted " Always have clean polished shoes, but I had to drop it.If we adopt it I will mark it as c/o @twittername. 

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