Monday, August 10, 2009

New Rule

My young daughter loves to make games up during our play time together. What can start as a simple way to pass the time, such as hitting a balloon back and forth as we sit on the couch, can quickly turn into a major event with boundary markers, an elaborate scoring system, and a detailed set of rules written in such a manner as to make a lawyer proud. As I master the new activity and start to dominate, invariably my little one will call out "New rule" and my advantage is quickly neutralized. In the pool the other day, we were hitting a beach ball back and forth, and a sort of modified volley ball game developed. In the span of about 2 minutes, she called out "New rule" about half a dozen times. Of course this got me thinking about applications to the real world. What if we had the ability to call out "New rule" whenever we sensed that we did not have an advantage or whenever the tide started to turn against us? Can't you just picture how delicious this would be?

Scene 1: We are in an assignment meeting at work with our co-workers and boss. Your boss is just about to hand you the big labor-intensive task that brings with it no possibility of glory or recognition. All you have to do is called out "New rule - I cannot be given work that I don't want to do." Problem solved.

Scene 2: Dinner at the family table. Your ogre-ish parents are trying to force you to consume the vile weed known as brocolli. Threats abound about no dessert and no T.V.. All you have to do is bellow "New rule - I don't have to eat any sketchy looking, shrub-like vegetables." Problem solved.

Scene 3: You're a new crew person on the starship Enterprise. You are asked to beam down to the planet with the captain and they hand you a red tunic for the trip. All you need to do is declare "New rule - I get to wear the blue shirt." Poof, problem solved.

Oh what fun! What a great way to avoid the little and the big problems in life. What a way to ensure that we get what we want and that nothing bad or undesireable ever happens to us. Trouble is though, this is not reality. This can only happen in a child's play world. The truth is, and I think most would ultimately agree with me, that the positives cannot be tasted without the negatives to provide a reference. The fruit eaten every day is not as sweet and appreciated as that eaten only on occasion. The hard reality of life is that we must lose from time to time so that we can ultimately enjoy the victory.