Mindful Refocus Coaching

Finding out the Rules of the Road: (Why bother?)

My J breaks a LOT of rules!  If they were pieces of paper, the floor would be covered in fragments, half sheets and shreds.  Some days, she just mangles a few.  But most of the time, there’s substantial damage to the whole bunch!  Ever tried to fix torn paper?  A little glue or tape works for the tear.  Or you can just cut a clean edge using scissors.  But it’s never the same afterward. 

Sure, there’s plenty of paper in the world.  There are plenty of rules, too.  Hundreds of chances in any given day to keep or break them.  I’m sure that J would rather not have rules.  I’m not so happy with the idea either, some days!  So- why bother?  Don’t we know what to do?  Who needs rules?  

Rules are an attempt to describe systems that work.  There are better and worse rules.  There are better and worse systems.  But- the rules tell you about the operation of the system in its normal form.  If the rules are an accurate description of the system, then following them keeps the system working.  

J has one set of rules for my house.  There are other sets for other settings: a visit to Dad’s, a trip to the zoo or buying lunch at McDonald’s all have different requirements.  What happens when the rules are broken?  There’s an impact and the operation of the system will shift. 

It could be a good shift.  She’s old enough to order her own dinner. Yaay! Or a bad one.  She tosses my cell phone as if it’s a toy.  But there will be either a change in the rules to match the new system.  Or the old rules will stand.  And the system will reset to the old pattern.  

Okay- rules describe systems and systems reset when they are broken.  Breaking them is good in some cases.  Bad in others.  Once broken, a rule is either eliminated and the system modifies itself or the system goes back to normal.  Who cares? Why does it matter?

Systems are just collections of behaviors.  Back to J for a moment.  Her system here includes 1) use your words, 2) kind hands (no hitting) and 3) pick up your things.  Three behaviors that make life a little more calm, considerate and orderly. 

Here is one more key to remember. The behaviors that show up are the rules that are in operation at any given time. If you want to know what the rules are in any context, just look at the behaviors that show up.

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