I spent some time last weekend with my newest friend. She’s seven and I really did have a great time with her. From watching YouTube videos (and singing out loud) to her displaying her gymnastic abilities and happily describing her best pair of shoes (they’ve got like a 1-inch block heel!).
But in all of this, there were two highlights of the day. First, was when my blonde wig fell off my head. We had been rolling on the floor and I guess it just got loose. But she wasn’t surprised – even as I made an attempt to put it back on. She simply said, “Can I see your real hair please”. I thought that was so cool. That she could understand different backgrounds and social norms to an extent. While her dad is white, her mum is black. I had to dig out the exact country when she said ‘we went to Africa on holiday’. Uhm, no. Africa is a continent. Then she mentioned the particular country in West Africa.
I’ve digressed, but the second highlight of the day was the amount of time we spent reading up our ‘House Rules’ and the conversations that ensued from it.
This was the last piece of ‘furniture’ we bought in our old house. Long before this, we had decided to put a halt to purchasing any items – and just ‘manage’ the old place as it was till we moved. That was supposed to be for a period of 3-4 months, which annoyingly ended up being so much longer.
I’d always loved these frames or posters that contained the house rules. So when I saw this one for half price, I grabbed it happily – intending to leave it all wrapped up till we moved. I was also pretty satisfied with the wording on this one, save for the fact that it didn’t have any things related to God or faith. But the days to moving house dragged, and so I reluctantly hung it in the old house.
Then we moved. And then guess what? It just didn’t seem to fit with the aesthetics of the new house. Ugh. So I left it leaning against the wall on the landing – while I came up with a decision. It was here, right after a gymnastic session, that my little friend bumped into it.
She read the first line and said ‘why do you have house rules‘? And I thought ‘ehmm, so we know what to do. And I can remember to eat my greens and Uncle Tee can share his chocolate with me and we can give hugs and kisses‘. ‘Ohh’, she responded, and then proceeded to read (slowly) every single word on the frame.
At times I wished I could hurry the words out of her mouth so we could move on to something else. But other times, I was impressed with her patience in getting to the end. She seemed a bit frustrated at the cursive writing and at one time blurted out, ‘it doesn’t make sense. Why does honest have a ‘h’ when it’s pronounced onest‘. Don’t ask me girlie.
Anyway, her initial question got me thinking about house rules. I mean like the serious ones, and not these light hearted kind. Do they work? I don’t really remember having house rules growing up. But some of my friend’s did. You had to sleep at 9pm. No sweets on weekdays. No eating between meals. No visiting friends on school nights. Brush your teeth before greeting your parents, and so forth.
I’m just really curious – how was your growing up like in relation to these rules. Did you have them? Did you like them and adhere to them? What were the consequences if broken? Would you advise them and if you have kids, what rules have you or would you like to implement?
It’ll be great to hear!
pS: The only house rules Tee and I are contemplating at the moment is whether or not guests should take their shoes off – as we’ve got a really light carpet! He thinks it’s extreme, but I’m pretty okay with it. Yet to decide though. What do you think. Would that offend you?
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