Rule# 16: Rachel’s Rule
“Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen.”- Karl Marx
“From each according to their ability, to each according to need”
I have a confession I am a communist.
At least at home I am a communist when it comes to raising the kids. I have little tolerance for making sure everyone gets the same slice of the pie in our family, I focus on what each of us can contribute and what each of us needs. The fairness of the system is that the central government ( Bobbi and I) can focus on the issues of the family and not focus on who is not getting their ‘fair share’.
I asked Stephen once when I was worried about being “fair” to him and concerned that other kids in our family were being spoiled at his determent. His insightful response was ..” face it dad we are all spoiled”. Very wise and very right.
Our family does not live in a world of scarce resources and everyone will get more than they truly need. We live in a world were needs tend to situational and vary greatly from child to child based on the circumstance of the moment. Its not a question of who gets enough to eat, its question of how the excess resources of the family are allocated.
But every once in awhile my capitalist heart bleeds ( green of course) and I worry about fairness of the situation. Effort doesn’t always match rewards and I think the disconnect sometimes feels unfair to me.
Yesterday the boys, who obviously have way too much free time, pointed out to me on by word count analysis Rachel had far less mentions in this blog than the other children. The mean number of mentions was 15, but Rachel had only 3. I had to stop and ask myself had the central government of our family failed? Is some thing not working?
I have been blessed with 6 wonderful children. 3 of whom if left in a house alone with a fork we would come home to seeing the fork unmoved, and them involved with some productive ( or at least not destructive) activity. 3 of which if left with the same fork would have stuck it into at least one wall socket and been shocked at least two times. All the same family, but very different responses to the environment. Rachel falls into the first category.
She is a very easy child. Homework done, room clean, and rolls with virtually every obstacle facing her in life with a quiet dignity and resourcefulness that is all to rare in this world. She even deals with the indignities of being the oldest girl with 4 older brothers who pride themselves on ways to torture and tease her. Whether its calling her names or making fun of her school work she handles her brothers with the skill of a lion tamer. All of her brothers know whether its a witty response to an insult or a left upper cut Rachel can handle them both physically and mentally. She can keep them all in line.
The problem with a child that is consistently on the honor roll and so positive about tasks is they can get lost. Their voices can be muffled by the brashness of brothers or the needs of a younger sister.
I think that’s the way it is in life. Many of the most remarkable people in our lives go unnoticed because they do what they need to do so well. I know in business it is the quiet professionalism of a few that keeps our company moving- and sadly they often go unnoticed because everything works so well.
As a Rule in our family, and in life we have to keep in mind the Rachel’s Rule- find those people in life doing the right things and praise and recognize them. It is those people that make life easy and fun. We have a duty to them to give them a voice and teach them they to deserve to be heard.
I’m not ready to abandon the central government control yet, but I think that keeping people like Rachel in mind in the chaos of our world will point us all in the right direction.
Regardless if you are fork in the socket person or not recognizing the people of your life that make it easier for all of us is an important rule to follow.
And Matthew, I have not abandoned my Rand Paul ultra capitalist leanings, but I do acknowledge that a little bit of communism from time to time isn’t a bad idea.