Thursday, March 1, 2007

Rules Vs. Relationship

I have come to realize that there are (at least) two distinct ways to live and lead a household: 1) living by rules, and 2) living by relationship. Their concepts seem pretty self-explanatory, but I have observed several differences between the two that I want to share. This is not an exhaustive list by any means.

I see households governed by rules and relationships to have the following characteristics (some may be good, some not, but these are just observations):

Living by Rules
  • Consistency dominates
  • Obedience exists
  • Law presides
  • Performance is the focus
  • Self-evaluation is lacking
  • Serving others is present if time permits
  • Changes occur when culture changes
  • Consequences are carried out
Living by Relationship
  • Inconsistency exists (“What do I feel like doing today?”)
  • Obedience is disputable
  • Law is not required
  • Relationship with others is the focus
  • Self-evaluation is prevalent
  • Serving others is expected
  • Changes occur when feelings and circumstances change
  • Consequences are not implemented
As you can see, there are positives and negatives to both sides. Since that is the case, is one really better than the other? Is it a situation where you can start with one and decide if it works for your family? Then, if it doesn’t work, you can switch to the other one and just hope it works and that no one rebels?

(I prefer one philosophy over the other, and the household I grew up in was definitely one of the two. But I am in no way trying to advocate one or the other; I am just stating their differences, mainly so that I can see them written out and compared in a civilized manner [words!].)