Rules

Do you always follow the rules? Do you know anyone who does? Do they have to make sense to you before they feel worth following?

It’s a fascinating thing to me that when I pulled up my Word application to begin typing this post, a screen popped up that indicated that Word would automatically be checking my spelling and grammar.

Should I take that as a sign that Word doesn’t believe I can spell or use proper grammar? Maybe it’s noticed that upon occasion I make mistakes and wants to help me out. Or maybe, Word believes everyone needs support.

One other way to view this is that Word feels I need help following the rules.

I wonder, what if I don’t care about Word’s rules? Will Word allow me to write what I want without changing it? Is there a place within the application where I can check a box that says, “no thank you”?

I’m probably overthinking this, but there is something within this simple action that sparks something in me. Some reminder no doubt, from an early English class.

I distinctly remember learning some rules about grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation in seventh grade. Occasionally my mom would help me with my homework. She was very interested in this whole subject and if I used an incorrect word or pronounced it wrong, she would tell me about it.

Given the nature of the English language there are so many rules and exceptions to the rules I wonder if anyone even knows them all? Or cares to know them.

I find it a curious thing that there are rules about what words are allowed to be included in a dictionary. What path do hopeful words have to take?

According to one internet source the folks who get to decide (called lexicographers) usually expect three criteria to be met. They want to see that the word has become widespread, has an agreed-upon meaning and has been used for a long period of time. Once they feel confident about this, they include it in an updated version of the dictionary. (Ain’t that great)

Many people don’t care to wait for this lengthy process, and would rather the new word appear immediately, so they add it to an Urban Dictionary. They kind of jump the gun on the whole formal process. Maybe they don’t like all of the rules either.

Now, I do realize there need to be rules for there to be an orderly society. I understand that most are critical to a smooth-running world, but I wonder about the exceptions.

Are each of us allowed to use our own commonsense to decide which rules to follow or would that constitute a breakdown in the process?

Have you ever wondered if we follow the rules to stay out of trouble or because they make sense to us? And what are we supposed to do when the rules create injustice? What if they are only in place to favor certain people?

I suppose the first answer is, we can attempt to change them so that they are fair and equitable for everyone. I am in awe of those who stand on the front lines in this endeavor. Those who care about others and take actions to help and support them, especially when the rules need to change.

They are true heroes in my mind, and I want to aid them in their quest. I am not as interested in being a rule breaker as I am in being a rule changer. It seems to me there is room for growth here and I hope I am a part of the answer, not another part of the problem.