Set Boundaries

17 June, 2021

A life without boundaries is like a house without walls – nobody feels safe. (Unknown)

I recently read a story of a football (soccer) match that was arranged for twenty-two young boys. After waiting for what seemed like ages, the referee still did not show up. The boys could wait no longer, so one of the parents was asked to act as referee in order to avoid the huge emotional meltdown that would result from disappointing twenty-two energetic youngsters. The substitute referee was more or less press-ganged into the role. He had no whistle, nor did he make any boundary markings for the limits of the pitch and according to him, he did not even know the rules of the game nearly as well as some of the boys. The game soon descended into complete chaos. Some shouted that the ball was in. Others said that it was out. The pseudo-referee wasn’t at all sure what was in or out, so he let things run. Then the fouls started. Some cried, ‘Foul.’ Others said, ‘No foul.’ The referee didn’t know who was right. So he let them play on. Then the kids began to get hurt. By the time the real referee arrived, there were three boys lying injured on the ground and all the rest were shouting at the substitute referee! However, the moment the referee arrived, he blew his whistle, arranged the teams, told them where the boundaries were and had them under complete control. The boys then enjoyed a great game of football.

Were the boys freer without the rules, or were they in fact less free? Without any effective authority, chaos was the result. Although they could do exactly what they wanted, the game ended in mayhem and consequently the result was confusion and the kids got hurt. The boys undoubtedly preferred that the game was played according to the rules. The boundary lines allowed the boys the freedom to enjoy the game. The rules of football did not diminish the pleasure of the game but rather enhanced it and at the same time kept the children safe.

Boundaries are not designed to take away the fun in life, but they are designed to enable the ‘game’ of life to be enjoyed to the full without hurting or trampling on the rights of others.

Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. (Henry Cloud)


Author: Yomi is a wordsmith, passionate about books, reading, education, healing and health. She has appeared several times on television and radio; speaking about her passion. She has Master’s degree in Medical Immunology from the College of Medicine, University of London and worked at a postgraduate college of medicine in London for over a decade before pursuing her passion for writing. She is the author of four books.

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