Monthly Archives: April 2006

Law & Order Principle

Several years ago, Patrick and I identified the Law & Order Principle. This is when something bad happens to someone because that person was doing something he shouldn’t have been doing. We noticed on the television show Law & Order that often the victim of a crime was doing something stupid —- dealing drugs, hanging out at bars late at night, dating drug dealers, embezzling money from his employer . . . you get the point. Then we began to notice this principle in many high-profile real-life criminal cases.

Let’s look at a big case in this week’s news. The Duke Lacrosse Scandal. Now, nobody deserves to be raped, but the stripper who claims to be raped was drunk and taking her clothes off for a whole houseful of strange (and drunk) men. Ummm. . . .if you’re setting up the perfect circumstances for rape to occur, this would be pretty close. Or, let’s say this woman is making up the charges, falsely accusing the lacrosse players. Well, if you have a big drunken party with 40 of your closest male friends and bring strippers into the house and get them drunk too, then you’re sort of setting yourself up for something bad to happen. In this case, the woman couldn’t have been raped if she’d been home sober, fully-clothed, and taking care of her children. The players couldn’t have been accused of raping her if they’d been . . . oh, let’s say studying or playing Trivial Pursuit in the dorm or having a party with Chex Mix and root beer and the latest video rental.

Of course sometimes people are innocent victims of crimes and tragedies, but so often people were doing things they shouldn’t have been doing when the crime or tragedy occurs. I’m thinking about familiar headlines —– dozens of people are injured or killed when a nightclub catches fire . . . a gang member is killed by a rival gang . . . a kid is killed during a drug deal . . . a teen falls to her death while skipping school, drinking beer, and climbing a mountain . . . a college student begins an illicet affair with a man she met online and ends up being murdered by him . . . Over and over again, people do stupid or immoral things and end up dead or injured.

We see this on a very small scale with our children, and we’re trying to teach them the Law & Order Principle while the stakes are much lower. Today my 3-year-old, Silas, and his big sister, Lauren opened the front door and stepped onto the porch after I told them not to. As they scrambled to come back inside, Lauren closed the door on Silas’ fingers, cutting one and badly bruising another. He is fortunate the finger didn’t break. Law & Order Principle at work — if they hadn’t been outside when they weren’t supposed to, his fingers wouldn’t have been squished. Our 5-year-old, Caleb, perched himself on the edges of 2 chairs today after I had told him to sit down properly. Of course, he lost his balance and fell backwards onto the floor. Ouch! No major injury, just a bump and a sore bottom, but it wouldn’t have happened if he’d obeyed his mommy.

When thngs like this happen in our home, we gently point out to our children how their poor choice contributed to their pain. I’m hoping they learn the Law & Order Principle while the consequences are only bruised bottoms and squished fingers.

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First Entry — Soccer

My first entry. A blog. Wow. Let’s get started.

Tonight my seven-year-old Lauren had a soccer game. She really wanted to score a goal, but didn’t. She tried her best, and it pleases me so much that she was satisfied with that. Well, she didn’t try her best in the first half. She kept talking to another girl, the girl who chewed on a dandelion stem the whole game. At half-time, I encouraged Lauren to stop talking and play soccer. She agreed with me that she needed to do that, but I think she thought she would be rude to not answer this other girl when she spoke to her. It was like Lauren needed permission to ignore this little girl and get to the business of playing soccer. She did much better in the second half. And she was so proud of herself for working hard and giving it her all.

I know parents who stress winning, parents who pressure their children to score in every game. Perhaps Lauren would play harder and would have scored a goal by now if my husband and I did that. I don’t know. We get excited when her team wins, and we would certainly cheer wildly if she scored a goal; but I cheer pretty loudly when I can tell she’s running as fast as her legs can go. If she scored, I don’t think I would be any prouder of her than I was the night she got hit in the gut with a ball and shook it off and kept going without complaining or whining. We stress giving it your all, being a good teammate, having fun . . .we really stress having fun. Before every game, my husband asks, “What’s the most important thing?” And all the kids know the answer is “Have fun!” We are thrilled that Lauren (and Rachel and Caleb in their little rookie league) is learning the skills of soccer and that she is experiencing the thrill of being part of a team and that she is having a blast. If she scores a goal, that’s just icing on the cake.

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