Two Mindsets Carrying Out Rules


In making sense of the negativity often associated with rules and consequences today, including rules and consequences at home and in the form of public law, it is key to consider how mindsets affect perceptions of rules and how they are carried out.

Consider two generations of fathers and sons as an example of how people’s mindsets affect how they carry out rules and consequences and also how they view rules and consequences.

Christians, in trying to make sense of the negativity that is often associated with rules and consequences today (including rules and consequences at home and in the form of public law), it is important to consider what type of mindset is often set against rules and consequences and also when rules and consequences really are unfair.  It may surprise you that the same mindset that is usually set against rules and consequences is also often the same mindset behind carrying out unfair rules and consequences.  However, when thinking about people you know personally who tend not to like rules that seem fair, you may realize that they also often tend to exhibit self-centered behaviors.

Consider two generations of fathers and sons as an example of how people’s mindsets affect how they carry out rules and consequences and also how they view rules and consequences.  Father with mindset A (often thinks about the needs of others) tells his 17-year-old son with mindset B (often thinks in a self-centered way) that he is losing his car keys for a day for taking his little brother’s pizza and eating it.  His father also tries to explain to his son why what he did was wrong, but the son doesn’t really care about the explanation.  However, the son still doesn’t do it again to avoid any consequences.  Years later, the son is now a father.  He still has mindset B, but his own son has mindset A.  One day, his son with mindset A sees his father taking the last of his mother’s favorite treats and says he should save it for her because she has hardly had any.  What his son says reminds him of his own father and his consequence for taking food from his brother.  Feeling resentful at the memory of his consequence, he tells his son he is losing his phone for the day.  However, he tells the son that the reason is because he was being disrespectful to him.  The son cries out that his father had said many times that rules and consequences are usually so unfair and uncompassionate.  His father makes up the excuse that he is only trying to help his son learn to be respectful.

The example of the fathers and sons explains how the people who tend to dislike rules and consequences often do so for self-centered reasons and are also the ones who often carry out rules and consequences in the wrong way.  However, to gain support for their way of thinking among others, they will often claim that rules are unfair or uncompassionate, which speaks to people’s sense of empathy.  Considering how this situation often works will help you understand what type of mindset is often behind spreading negativity about rules, which is a mindset set against rules for self-centered reasons.  This example also helps you understand why good rules that are carried out the right way should still be supported, which is for reasons such as protecting people from self-centered behavior. 


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