by J. R. Practix
Abrogate: (v.) to do away with or repeal a law, right or formal agreement
He came into my room.
“He” was my fourteen-year-old son, who had just been confronted by me for breaking one of the family rules. This was not unusual. Being a teenager, he was more than willing to fulfill his quorum of weekly indiscretions, to face the equivalent provided punishments.
Yet this time was different.
Instead of coming into my room in tears or firing fiery darts of anger from his eyes, he had selected a profile of reasonableness. He gave me the respect I deserved as his father, but at the same time, came prepared with a case to make on his behalf–how the rule he had just broken lacked clarity and necessity.
He was calm. He was asking me in an uncharacteristically gentle way, to abrogate my decision by offering me pointed examples of why this particular precept held dear in the family was not necessarily applicable anymore.
For a fourteen-year-old, he was quite eloquent.
It made me realize that we live in a world where lots of folks think that the power of their principles are best expressed by screaming at the top of their lungs. They contend that their displeasure over some particular practice or law should be enough to change the situation on the spot. They take no consideration for the common good. They are not concerned with equity, and justice takes a back burner to convenience.
But here I was–listening to my fourteen-year-old son expound with both fervency and practicality, a case concerning his innocence–if this qualification for purity were lifted and abandoned.
He was asking me to trust him. He was asking me to believe in him. He was asking me to reconsider my position without trying to make me feel as if I were a dictator, a socialist and a murderer of all teenage rights.
At the end of his discourse, I asked him a couple of questions, and although his responses were not as astute as his original presentation, I still believed he had taken the time to consider his position instead of merely building up a head of steam.
I was impressed. I was so taken by his metamorphosis that I changed the rule. I abrogated it.
There are many things that may need to be abrogated in our society today–arbitrary findings and guidelines that require another “look-see.” But nothing will happen until people of common sense calm their attitudes and present a logical case instead of constantly hammering away with stubbornness and self-righteousness.
It can be done. Outdated concepts can be abrogated in favor of more mature and realistic options. But yelling and cursing only create a soil for growing the weeds of stupidity.
We need intelligence. It’s the only way to abrogate ignorance.