Teaching Our Children To Follow the Rules

Posted By on June 30, 2008

Matthew 7:13-14

I am again deeply grieved by tragedy of a family I do not even know. I am not writing this to further cause any damage to this family. God help them. I cannot and do not ever want to experience what they are going through. Ever. I don’t want anyone ever to again.

I am pasting the entire report here, because I know how news links work, and this one will disappear if I just link to it. Here is the pertinent part of the report:

AUSTELL, Ga. — A teenager was decapitated by a roller coaster after he hopped a pair of fences and entered a restricted area Saturday at Six Flags Over Georgia, authorities said.

Six Flags officials are uncertain why 17-year-old Asia Leeshawn Ferguson of Springfield, South Carolina scaled two six-foot fences and passed signs that said the restricted area was both off-limits and dangerous to visitors, spokeswoman Hela Sheth said in a news release.

Authorities were investigating reports from witnesses who said the Ferguson jumped the fences to retrieve a hat he lost while riding the Batman roller coaster, said Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce. Police have declined to release the teenager’s name until an autopsy is completed.

Six Flags said it closed the roller coaster after the Saturday afternoon accident out of respect for the Ferguson’s family.

I cried when Amanda told me of this report. This family will forever miss this boy. He is a son, probably a brother. A friend. A grandson. A young man who will never complete his purpose in life. I am greatly grieved.

And the question that comes to mind is this: Why don’t we follow the rules? The laws that are set before us?

I do not know if this child knew the Lord, but he was with a Baptist Church group. I hope he knew the Lord. I wish he had known to follow the rules.

In a written news release, the park’s public relations manager Hela Sheth said, “The areas where the individuals entered were clearly marked with signs that stated ‘Restricted area / Authorized personnel only’ and a sign on a locked gate that read: ‘Danger zone. Do not enter. Authorized personnel only.’”

I have heard before that, if we want to burn all of the books with stuff in it that children should not read, we should start with the Bible. It is true that it is full of sinfulness. Rape, war, murder all pervade its pages, from the beginning to end. And yet, it is the Book of Wisdom and Love and Salvation to all who read it and believe its message.

Just as we can learn God’s laws and truths from the sinful and tragic acts of those in the Bible, there are lessons in tragedies today. We have long-taught our children the verse, “Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” I know many Sunday School lessons are taught from that verse, as well and parents who teach it to their children. But, let me tell you: that is not the end of the paragraph.

Ephesians 6
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

I believe these verses are the base verses by which all other obedience flows throughout a person’s life. I believe that learning to obey your parents as the Lord would have you leads a child to desire obedience, and that is the blessing. Learning to obey your parents regardless of your own feelings or opinions or stature or even knowledge is a base to follow the rules and be safe and live a long life. It also sets our children on the path of obedience to a God who loves them and desires the best for their lives, but will not always tell them why or when.

Why do I think that? Because it says so. It says that this commandment comes with a promise. You Honor and obey your parents, you live long in the earth. We are stealing from our children if we do not teach them to obey in all things. If we allow them to disobey and manipulate and throw tantrums with no consequence, we are not allowing this promise of a long life and that it may be well with them to occur in their lives.

If you obey, you will be blessed. Period. You will live a long life on the earth. I believe it is God’s plan for children to live long on the earth. Unfortunately, this sinful world takes its toll on that plan. We must teach our children to be obedient for their own good.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not talking about a mindless, fruitless, ignorant society of drones. I am talking about children who make a choice to do what is right because their parents do what is right and they trust their parents and follow their examples. You cannot say a parent is stupid to teach their child to listen to them and to do what is good and right. Even if you do not agree with their theology, a child must obey without a thought for the earliest years of their lives. Children do not understand dangers and consequences. They don’t know not to stick a toy or their finger in the light socket. They don’t know not to touch a stove. They do not know not to touch a candle wick or to stay out of the street or to not go into the horse stalls or to stay away from that dog. Or that stranger. Life is dangerous. This Obedience Rule is for their own protection. Like, the sign that told this young man to STAY OUT because it was a dangerous area. Sometimes our children pay with their lives because we do not teach them simple obedience.

 

Guadalupe Mountains, in Texas

Believe me, we have our fair share of pushing that disobedience here. Take, for example, Rachel leaving the goats outside, unattended, and one of them is in the road. Her disobedience could very well have caused them to be killed. And the person who may have hit them too. Or Caleb, who has been told not to feed LucyLillie, who still wants to give her food. His disobedience could cause her to choke on something and die. A few years ago, Matt and I were working out in the shop, and all of a sudden, I heard a huge crash. I ran into the house. Hannah was a little baby, just walking, and who knows what happened? I walked in to find the top of my hutch and many valuables broken in a big pile on the floor. Thank God no one was hurt, but, all I could do was melt down to the floor.

Silly girls, acting carelessly and foolishly, were running down the stairs, chasing each other and broke many valuable things from their early childhood, momentos from my mom and pieces of china. No death, but it was a horrible sight and consequence due to their foolishness and disobedience, and it could have been much much worse, as what if something HAD happened to little Hannah? I feel that we, as parents paid the price for not teaching our children to obey or teaching them in a wrong manner. I am still thankful that the heavy cabinet did not fall on my little girl. Thank you HYH for protecting her.

Which leads me to the next verse that is often overlooked: 4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Fathers. This instruction is to FATHERS. I do not need to teach Fathers. Actually, if a Father will but read this verse, he will need no further instruction. It is very clear-cut. Don’t provoke your children. Don’t frustrate them. Don’t do something other than what you teach is right. Don’t be a liar or a manipulator, and be there for them. Set a right example. Be trustworthy. Then they will want to do what is right and know the difference.

Mothers: we do need to know what frustrates our children. It is easy to provoke a child. It is easy to frustrate a child. Perhaps that is why the admonishment is there. I know for a fact that sons are a different world than daughters. Much more easily frustrated. So much more that that frustration, if caused by a father, it can easily lead to a rebelling against the Father or mother, but mainly against the Father.

Mothers, being harsh with any of our children will lead to frustration, but a young man who is “turning the corner” to manhood needs to be free to make more mature decisions without being put down in the process. Let’s watch how we speak to them and talk to them as someone who is capable of making good decisions and whom we are proud of and love very much. Let it show to them.

It is our job as parents to protect our children. It is not the government’s or the church’s. It is our job. We must teach them to listen and heed our words. They must learn self-control. I highly doubt that this young man would think that his hat was worth his life had he really thought about it. He did not understand that there are reasons for rules and consequences for disobedience.

Most times, the consequences in this world are not death, but this time it was. And in the end, when we stand before a Holy God (whether we believe we will or not), we will face the same judgment. Will it be that the consequence of our choices in this life will be death? Do we live following the rules? Do we even know God’s laws? Or are we relying on a preacher or priest to tell us what they are? Or worse yet, do we live as the goats do and break the rules at any chance, because, I mean, really, now, we are just exercising our “Christian Liberties”….

I have my usual word for that: hogwash.

I do understand that children grow up and make their own decisions. And, at that point, we may feel it is too late for our influences. If that is the case, then try anyway. Love them and teach them anyway. Draw them back to what is right. You lost their heart somewhere, and you must draw it back. I am grieved for you if you are going through it. It hurts. It seems futile sometimes, but it is not. Stick it out and be there for them. Let them know you love them and are there for them.

I am deeply grieved for Mr. Ferguson’s family, his church, his friends. I am deeply grieved for the young man who went with him and witnessed the tragedy. I pray he can sleep at night and forget the picture in his mind of what he saw of his friend’s death.

 

Food for thought.

blessings!

Jacque Sig

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Related Articles:

Children, Obey Your Parents, Even Your Heavenly Father

Sometimes Doing Good Is Still Disobedience

Shame and Discipline


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Comments

4 Responses to “Teaching Our Children To Follow the Rules”

  1. Aunt Jen says:

    All I can say is Oh Lord; :( and AMEN!

    [Reply]

  2. This is a heartbreaking story. There are always consequences to our actions. A little disobedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is disobedience.
    Usually the consequences for disobedience are much more than we are willing to pay, but once the action is done, we usually can’t take it back. Like you, my heart goes out to his parents and friend.

    [Reply]

  3. That’s so heart-breaking. Just as Six Flags went to great effort to install fences and signs around the coaster, for OUR protection, God provides fences and warning signs in our lives. If only we would obey. I know that I can tend towards a rebellious heart in some areas, and yet I know that God is good – all the time – and He isn’t out to “rain on my party.” He truly does have our best interests at heart. It’s so important to learn how to put my SELF aside and choose to do what I know is right – to obey His warnings, not climb over the fences, and reap the fruit of humility, obedience, and a surrendered heart.

    Thank you for this post, Jacque. I love how God took this tragedy and used it to demonstrate just how important obedience is in our lives.

    1 Samuel 15:22 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”

    love,
    Dianne

    Dianne – Bunny Trailss last blog post..Attention Span?

    [Reply]

  4. Karen says:

    Oh My, my heart aches for his family. I will be praying for his family and his friend. I have been to that Six Flags many times and though I don’t ride it (fear of heights) my hubby and oldest dd does. I can’t imagine; what a awful tradegy.

    This post has convicted me of my lack of diligence with teaching my children obedience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    Karen @ Lil Momma’s Haven

    Karens last blog post..LOVE DARE ~ DAY 6

    [Reply]

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Welcome

Welcome. I'd like to say that I'm first a 40-ish yr old woman with all of my likes and dislikes, but let's face it, Firstly, I'm a mom to 9 wonderful people, young and old, from ages 23 down to 3. That's my main life: loving, walking with, learning with, teaching, and being driven crazy by my kids and their antics and also being amazed by their capacity to keep loving a person like myself. So, I'm a 40-ish home school mom - teacher of the last 6 of my 9 kids, hoping I don't screw them up too badly, but knowing that they are probably all so awesome they will turn out much better people than I am. For which I am very GRATEFUL. Namaste.