You’ll never know where the real boundaries are unless you challenge them.
It’s a generally observable phenomenon that students often act out in the beginning of a year, flaunting the rules and generally misbehaving. Experienced teachers know that this is a natural and necessary stage in the classroom dynamic. Every classroom has a putative set of rules and boundaries, but in rules, as in any “text,” there’s always interpretative wiggle-room, and students know they won’t discover the real boundaries unless they challenge them.
As adults, it seems that we have more to lose when we break the rules–jobs, public images, families, possessions, etc. etc.–and therefore lose the urge to act out and transgress boundaries (perhaps the main source of the ever-present generation gap). But how will you ever know where the people’s and the world’s real limits, and most importantly, yours, are unless you gently, or forcefully, push them?
Put another way: do you want to be a victim of the rules you live by, or the master?
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