Lots and lots of little rules
We went away to the beach last week, staying in a cabin in a big caravan park. It was great for the kids and we all felt relaxed but the thing that jumped out at me immediately was the enormous number of little signs everywhere.
Speed limits, dry your feet, shower here, no bikes or scooters, slow down, park here, 15 minutes only, next door please, and my personal favourite: DRIVE TO BOOM GATE, SOUND HORN.
Obviously after the place was set up, the owners and staff found that some things weren't working real well. "They keep dripping through the foyer when they get out of the pool!" "Right. We'd better put up a sign," and in the process lots and lots of little rules were created to solve lots of little problems.
It made me wonder if signs and rules are just inevitable in life? Or is it possible that better design and a more broadly thought-out approach could make a lot of little instrutions, signs and rules defunct? The caravan park ended up focusing on the details rather than fixing the main problem, which was that the entrance and system was not well thought out.
As always, I thought about my own life, in several areas. Coming as the trip did after New Year, my mind was on resolutions. I could make signs for myself to be more disciplined in eating and exercise and follow some little rules, but perhaps it would be better to look at the reasons why I eat more than I need and solve the deeper issues.
I also thought about parenting. If I only focus on the 'things the kids do wrong' rather than setting peaceful, loving, calm boundaries, my 'signs' of what to do and what not to do are going to increase exponentially.
To be honest, it was annoying to be constantly told what to do, even by a benign sign on a post. Visually, it wasn't relaxing. Having to follow lots and lots of little rules is a pain. And I think that's true across lfie more broadly.
You've got to get your foundations set up right so you don't need to keep adding rules and signs and 'must dos'. It makes me think about the story Jesus told about building your life on the rock, and the fact that all the rules are fulfilled through him.