Rules of Behavior

Patricia - Newton, North Carolina
Entered on October 7, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

Rules of Behavior

I don’t recognize today’s society that rewards segments of the population who don’t do as they are supposed to and gives the majority of breaks to those groups who are continuously allowed to slip under the radar, unscathed and with blatant disregard for the rules.

My parents taught me, by example and guidance, that you did what was expected of you. If you didn’t, it was unacceptable and considered bad behavior…and my siblings and I were punished, or at the very least made to suffer the consequences.

Today, ANYTHING goes!!

When I was in fifth grade, my prized possession was pair of black and white saddle oxfords. I would meticulously polish them every evening, wearing an old pair of white cotton gloves my mother gave me to keep my hands polish-free.

Every morning, a boy in my class would grind his foot on my shoes, ruining my polish job. I retaliated by pinching him as hard as I could.

He told his mother only that I pinched him and showed her the red marks on his arm.

Unbeknownst to me, his mother informed the teacher who, in turn, called my mother.

With no forewarning, the bully and I were made to stand up in front of class the next day and apologize to each other.

We were BOTH made accountable for our actions.

My parents didn’t make a big deal out of it, but I was mortified! I thought I had done nothing wrong, defending myself against the grinding foot of that bully.

I felt betrayed by my mother, by my teacher, by a system that would lump the good and bad together, causing everyone to suffer.

Even so, I kept on polishing my shoes just as industriously as before and steered clear of that boy who, never again, stepped on my toes.

Rules of behavior are established to keep us on the right track and to define what is expected of us. When the boundaries of fair and good conduct are sidestepped, we ALL pay a price.

I believe I saw it coming in the fifth grade. I landed in that awkward position because I valiantly tried to protect myself against a bullying force meant to destroy what I had worked so hard at achieving.

Now after fifty years of “polishing my shoes”, the gloves are OFF. And I don’t care if I have to stand up and say I’m sorry. I’m going to PINCH somebody!!