We had our first mini rebellion tonight. Something triggered Lily to yell with gusto that she is "sick of the this local stuff." I think it may have been my refusal to buy the corn dog at Yoke's earlier in the day. After she settled down she explained that she was frustrated that it took so long to shop. She has been shaped by all those years where we would sweep in and sweep out of the grocery store, following the path of least resistance to the check out stand.
This year of rules is shaping up as a great exercise in parenting. It's not so much about our particular set of rules but about having any set of official rules and working together to be faithful to them. It's a sharing in common commitments. This is a fresh experience for me as a parent.
We've always had rules. The other day I said I want something and my daughter said, "Don't say I want.", because Nancy is constantly reminding them to say, "May I please have..." instead of "I want..." That's one of our rules. But we've never had explicit rules like the ones we are working with during this year. They are frustrating at times, as Lily will attest, but there is something beautiful in the way they bind us together.
Our rules have reminded me of the tradition of formal Rules in monastic communities, like the Rule of St. Benedict. Benedict talks about the rules as the instruments of "the spiritual art" and the monastary as the "workshop in which we perform all these works with diligence". (Chapter IV) I'm starting to see our rules as instruments of the familial art, and our house as a sort of workshop, creating something together.