Jan at RevGals writes: After a family vacation with our four children and three additional "partners," I am more aware of rules, spoken and unvoiced. Expectations are not always clearly expressed, but are still expected. . . . unbeknown to all unless one is not fulfilled! So how about writing about rules in your families and workplaces? Choose one or more for each category, especially if one seems odd or funny to you now.
I’m terrible at this, too intuitive for my own good! I usually need a memory trigger to release this kind of data!
1. Formal rules in family of origin
Hmmm. While eating: elbows off the table, napkin on your lap, chew with your mouth closed.
2. Unwritten and unspoken rules in family of origin. These are the kinds of things that you don’t realize until you encounter a behavior or action than is different from your own expectations. Some (many) seem to be related to etiquette. Others seem to be gender-related. For instance, when I clear my plate from the table after eating I will take with me to the sink anyone else’s plate that is ready to be cleared. Men don’t seem to practice what I consider to be a courtesy. At least in my experience! I’m not sure how much of this is rules or expectations as much as it is a family or cultural norm.
3. Formal rules in current family or workplace.
Don’t feed the dogs from the table. No people food for the dogs. (Until three years ago my family was me and the dogs, just so you have a context).
4. Unwritten rules in current family or workplace.
Don’t hit the dogs as a means of correction (or at all). Can’t think of any others at the moment. See above note about clearing plates!
5. When was a time that you became aware of different rules in different places/families than your own?
At a very early age my brothers and I became joined at the hip with another family with two boys and a girl. Our ages were close enough together that we could play together, and the two families (mostly The Mothers and the kids) practically lived in each other’s laps. It was clear that they had different rules/expectations than we had (one that I remember is that they got to eat TV dinners on trays in the living room on Sunday nights when everyone watched The Ed Sullivan Show, we didn’t), but at the moment I don’t remember what else. Maybe I was five?
I'm sure that my memory will be jogged by other posts!