Tuesday, August 9, 2016

precedent

Ahh the power of precedent.  If I do a thing it may seem a certain way to me.  But what if everyone did what I was doing?  Would the world be a better or worse place?

Someone takes a stapler from work.  No big deal, go to the cabinet and get another one.  But what if all 62 employees took a stapler.  You can see what happens.  It becomes a mess.

I throw trash out the window of my car.  No big deal, only one cup.  What if everyone did it?

Someone wants to use a room in the church to hold a seminar for their business.  They are nice people and faithful members, but you have to tell them no.  Why?  Because if you allow one person to do it, everyone then has the right to do so. In fact, to allow one person to do a thing and not the next person, is discrimination.

So when we are thinking about what we are doing, we always need to ask ourselves about the notion of setting a precedent.  Not just what this means for me, but what would happen if everyone did what I am doing?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

1 comment:

Kelly Edmondson said...

Kind of on the flip side of that is the precedent of consequences. My dad taught high school science. One semester he had a super sweet girl who was a good student in terms of both academics and personality. Once, though, she slipped up and the consequence for that problem, which he himself had devised, seemed so harsh for this sweet girl, that he felt really bad about going through with it, but he did. After that, he had his "Sally Sweetie" rule (it was actually her name, but I won't use it here, just in case someone knows her). Before he decided on any punishment/consequence, it had to pass the Sally Sweetie rule. He imagined the nicest, sweetest, most compliant, studious student possible and then had to decide if he could impose the punishment even on them. If not, he changed it. I did the same thing then when I taught 1st and 2nd grade SS. If I was going to put the orneriest boy in the corner for time out, I had to be able to do it to Sally Sweetie too. Even in the college classroom, I use the Sally Sweetie metric.