Lisa Felin Lilley '85, '94 M.Ed.Rules are good stuff. Life works out a lot better when we obey traffic signals, follow the flight attendant’s instructions and heed advice contained in the Golden Rule. But, there is a time when it is okay to break the confining laws we create for ourselves in our minds. Most often these rules are the product of what we think we should do based upon other’s perceived opinions of our actions, where we’ve always thought we should be by a certain point in life, or antiquated social conventions. Rather than serve as our moral compass, these self-imposed edicts create confusion, causing us to lose our way because they no longer correspond to who we have become. That’s when it is time to take stock, along with a deep breath, and intentionally hit the reset button. Rebooting our internal rules system allows us to make sure it truly syncs with who we are.
IB Educator, Springfield Public Schools
Dr. Peter BrowningAs the chaplain at Drury, I’m probably supposed to obey “the rules” more than anybody. After all, as the Golden Rule states, I should always treat others the way that I would want to be treated. But, after decades of teaching ethics classes, I am ambivalent about rules. As Martin Luther King Jr. taught me, some rules aren’t just. In the Jim Crow era, African- Americans were required to submit to the rules of segregation. During my mother’s lifetime, highly educated women were often denied access to professions. Even today, unwritten rules can open doors for some and close them for others. When is it acceptable to break the rules? It is when following rules leads to injustice, inauthenticity or harm. As Jeremiah tells us, God calls us to a “new covenant” where the law is written in “our hearts.” And as Jesus’ followers showed, being faithful isn’t about the “right rules” as much as it is about a way of being graced by faith, hope, and love.
Professor of Religion & Chaplain
Lisa TessierI am a fence sitter. Instead of seeing the world in black and white, I live in the gray zone. So by nature, I am neither a strict rule follower nor a cavalier rule-breaker. When I think about breaking a rule, my first question is: why is it there? For that reason, the only rules I instinctively chafe at are those that exist only because things have always been done that way. They can be dangerously limiting. I consider the consequences of breaking the rule. Does it conflict with my personal ethics? I ask myself why I want to break it—which often requires some tough honesty. In the end, because rules are created by fallible humans, blindly following them can be as disastrous as mindlessly breaking them. And then there are those times I just have to jump the fence for the pure joy of it!
Career Planning & Development
Trevor CobbStudents are faced with many rules from countless sources, and many exist to protect us. For example, when a professor advises me to not skip class, they are looking out for my best interest as a student. However, it is the rules that society places on individuals that need to be questioned. Many of these rules are created to confine and divide, not to protect. Unspoken rules like “boys shouldn’t wear flower crowns” and “people who wear all black aren’t friendly” only serve to harm. These societal rules and assumptions must be consistently broken to allow space for a more authentic society. When people are freed from societal expectations, they are no longer confined to a box; they can be more honest about themselves with the world. If you want to wear makeup, shave your head or join the wrestling team, challenge societal expectations and break the rules if need be.
Writing, Spanish & Graphic Design Major