The Brotherhood of Rules

One boy is a big fan of rules. When he plays a game, he stops every few minutes to make up a new rule. When he thinks that someone is breaking a rule, even if that someone is his dad, he has to let everyone know. For him, a day without a couple of hundred new rules isn’t really a day.

I took him to school Monday morning. He was all business.

“Hey, you should tell your teacher how many goals you scored in your soccer game the other day.”


“Sure! She’d love to hear about that.”

“I just don’t know.”

“Come on. Just tell her. Why wouldn’t you?”

“Well, it’s school. We’re there to learn. Not talk about soccer.”

All business.


He’s only seven. I’m guessing that he would probably be a United States Senator by the time he turns 14 if it wasn’t against the rules. Definitely by his early 40s.

His younger brother is completely different. He hates rules. And clothing. He spends most of his day trying to get around his brother’s rules. While naked. Never let structure get in the way of a good time. Never. That’s his motto. In our state, you have to be 18 to get a tattoo. I’m guessing his motto will be tattooed on his chest before his 6th birthday.

We were watching a show about alligators and snakes. My oldest son picked it out. It was structured family time. Just like the rule book says. Halfway through the show there was a trivia question.

What is the heaviest snake?

a.) The Burmese Python

b.) The Anaconda

c.) The Southeastern Spine Backed Devil Rattler Cobra

Answer after the commercial break.

I guessed b. So did my older son. Rules. Keep the rules and say what dad says.

My wife chose a.

I asked my younger son what he thought.

“I’ll give my guess after they tell us the answer.”

The commercial break was over. The answer was b.

My wife sighed.

My older son and I cheered.

So did my younger son.

He’s never been wrong a day in his life.

Who needs the rules?

Come to think of it, he just might become a United States Senator too.

The first twelve-year-old Senator.

With a tattoo on his chest.