Member Rara Avis
What makes you think it necessarily has to be one or the other?
If a rule isn't important, very simply it shouldn't exist. To use your own example, no, I don't think it's all right for a young child to play in the street, even with supervision. Because teaching a child it's okay with supervision almost guarantees he'll be doing it tomorrow without supervision. In this case, the rule exists to protect the youngster. And that must override making the child (or the adult who breaks the rule, which is usually the real issue) feel good for five minutes. Loving a kid is good. Spoiling a kid, by casting aside discipline and rules, is bad. Even if it makes you feel good to do it.
I'm not suggesting that rules should always preclude compassion. Not by any means. But, sadly, a great deal of human suffering is the result of letting fleeting emotions overrule wisdom. If a rule is wrong, then it should be overturned. But if it is the right thing to do, feeling bad about it won't make it any less right.