Gentle Structures

Like a great many children, there may be times when you say to your parents, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Sometimes this is because the parents pester you with too many rules, too many demands and commands. In these cases you just want a break so you can think through things onĀ  your own. Sometimes you are trying to understand something in your own way and you need to have just your own thoughts making the decisions.

However, sometimes you say “Don’t tell me what to do!” because you know you are doing something unkind or wrong and are acting selfishly and you don’t want to really think about what you are doing: you just want to do it because you just want to do it. Especially if you are doing something mean, you want to see how things would happen if you did something a different way than your parents would, and you don’t want to have to see that it’s a dumb idea to be unkind.

You might want to try out doing something the way a friend of yours told you about and you thought it would be a good idea because you don’t know how to feel how someone else would feel. You think that, if your parents keep telling you their way, the way they do things and they keep on wanting you to do it that way, you want to resist them. How else can you find your own way than by doing it?

Challenging your parent’s structures of rules and demands is part of growing up, But you need to remember that you need to have rules and regulations, structures and traditions in your life the same way you need a boat to go across the ocean or a lake: swimming just by yourself can get very hard. You can get so tired, trying to go that far without a boat, and either do something stupid or even drown. It’s the same with life. Rules for kindness make things easier; rules about caring for others make it easier for others to care about you.

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