Friday, June 28, 2013

Of Banks and Boundaries

Clinch River
How many rules, how much structure, should we have for our children?

Reasonable family rules and boundaries can be like the banks of a river that channel water in a clear and purposeful direction. You are free to go here, but not there. There are "don'ts" but even more "do's".

When the apostle Paul lists the nine good qualities referred to as the "fruit of the Spirit" (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control), he notes that "against such there is no law." Not every good behavior is based on just not doing certain things.

Some parents are very rule-focused, giving children strict mandates to follow and very little freedom to make any kinds of choices for themselves. This can feel a bit like being in a pond dammed up on all sides. Since the water can’t go anywhere, it can become stifling and unhealthy.

On the other hand, having few or no boundaries can be like living in a kind of wetland swamp, with water freely oozing wherever it pleases, but likewise creating a stagnant, unhealthy environment.

So let’s give our children good banks and good boundaries, but unlimited freedom and encouragement in becoming the truly creative and Christ-like human beings they were meant to be.

Adapted from a Centerpiece radio spot. These ninety-second reflections can be heard locally as follows: 
WEMC 91.7 FM 11:58 am Monday to Friday, Sunday 7:58 
WBTX 1470 AM 9:20 am  Monday to Friday
WNLR 1150 AM 11:28 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday
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