Friday, March 23, 2012

Simple Rules

I have learned that life is best lived by following a few simple rules.

God transformed twelve tribes of slaves into the nation of Israel by giving them ten simple rules and an asking them time and again, "What part of 'Thou shalt not' do you not understand?"

Today, Benjamin Franklin, arguably one of the most erudite men of his day, is remembered more than anything else, for the simple rules he published in Poor Richard's Almanac.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
"A penny saved is a penny earned."
"Waste not time, for it is the substance of life."

My Mom and Dad raised four children using a few simple rules.  Rules like "Don't hit your sister", and "You take care of you, and let (whoever) take care of (whoever)."  And Moms' personal favorite, from the Disney movie Bambi, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all."  Dad's favorite seemed to be "Remember, whether you're digging ditches or directing a corporation, it's all food on the table."  For the most part, Mom and Dad lived the rules they taught us each and every day of their lives and today each of us children can justifiably claim to be reasonably responsible and productive adult members of society.

And, like my parents before me, my wife and I raised our family to observe a few simple rules, the most important of which were always stated as

"Rule 1: No fighting.
Rule 2: If a fight breaks out, remember rule 1."

And there were others, like "Always try a 'no thank you' helping," and "Take all that you want, but eat all that you take."  And also "If you sign up for a team sport or activity, then you owe it to the team to continue that sport or activity until the end of the season."

Today, I am proud to report that each of my children can also justifiably claim a place as reasonably responsible and productive adults.

In future posts, I may present a few more of the simple rules that have benefited me in their application.  But, in the mean time, I'd like to know, what simple rules have you lived out to make you into the person you are today?

And what other simple rules might make your life better?