Sunday, December 9, 2012

Doing the Right Thing

Inspired by this Swim Bike Mom post, this will be an intense and possibly strongly worded a slight rant regarding my feelings on (you guessed it) doing the right thing. If you are easily offended, please just close this window and wait patiently for the next happy post.

I'm a rule follower. I always have been. That doesn't mean I don't question rules and authority sometimes but as a whole, I understand and respect the need for rules in society and in life. This way of thinking and living doesn't always make me a lot of friends but I don't care much about that. One downside, and there are many, of being a rule follower is that we find ourselves more often than not in the minority. Rarely is the rule follower applauded for doing the right thing, rarely are we the cause of accidents yet perhaps too often we are chastised when those who are being careless or just not paying attention are hurt by our doing the right thing. There's a quote that goes "Well behaved women rarely make history." and thought I appreciate it, it has always bothered me a little bit. Why not? Why can't we respectfully challenge convention instead of being loud and out of line and more so, misbehaving? When you do the right thing as a kid you're called names and teased by classmates but often acknowledged by teachers and adults. Why does that change as you get older?

Here's the thing, the lovely Swim Bike Mom was in a bike accident caused by someone else's carelessness and as someone who is seriously training for her Ironman and has faced training setbacks in the past, she's rightfully angry at the rider she hit for making a u-turn in the middle of the road without any warning after SBM had called out an "on your left". She feels bad for losing her cool and I feel bad that people who follow proper etiquette are made to feel bad for getting angry at others who can't follow instructions. My biggest flaw is that I'm inflexible. I like to set routines and have a strong sense of right and wrong. I don't have a high tolerance for mistakes or accidents. I have high expectations for others and even higher ones for myself. I know it's a bad trait and I'm working on it. But I'm not sure that it'll ever go away and quite frankly, I don't want it to. I like following rules and I (for the most part) think people who don't should have consequences. If that makes me wrong, so be it. It shouldn't be of any concern since it'll be a lot harder for us rule followers to "get ahead" in life anyway. But please don't berate us for how we choose to live. We're not "sheep" for following rules, we're not just "going along" with things, we're trying to do the best we can with the way things are and I'll be damned if I applaud someone for their bad behavior. In the case of SBM, she's allowed to be as angry as she wants. Just like someone who is in a car accident at an intersection because someone didn't know or didn't follow the rules. If a person is hit by a car, the car is always wrong, even if the person crossed against the light. If my bigger dog who is on a leash attacks a smaller dog who is off leash and running at her, my dog is wrong because she's bigger (true story, although she doesn't attack because I'm a responsible owner and she's a nice dog). If someone throws a tantrum, they get their way. How many of us have done something for someone "just to shut them up?" I know I have, and I've done it a lot. And all that does is reward bad behavior. (geez, I sound like somebody's mother.)

There are exceptions to the rule of course. But that's the way with everything. I may read this post again in 2 years and cringe at how naive and ridiculous I was but for now, this is the 24 year old point of view. Not all rules deserve to be followed but how about changing them so they aren't broken. Agreed?

1 comment:

  1. I think having high expectations is a wonderful thing! I hope you don't ever change that. In fact, I think a lot of problems are cause by people not expecting more out of themselves and others.

    I'm also a rule follower, and I have no problem with it. I don't follow rules blindly or just because. In general rules are reasonable and there for a pragmatic reason. I love being a rule follower!