Some years ago, sociologists and child psychologists made an interesting discovery. Contemporary thought assumed that putting fences around playgrounds made children feel restricted in their recreation. And based on that theory it was decided to remove the fences so children wouldn’t feel confined. To the astonishment of the experts, the opposite effect occurred. Researchers found that children became more inhibited in their activities. They tended to huddle towards the middle of the playground and exhibited signs of insecurity. Interestingly, when the fences were replaced, the children once more played with great enthusiasm and freedom.
What’s the lesson here? We all need boundaries—something to define the limits of safety and security. Whereas the ‘experts’ theorised that boundaries restrict creativity, children on the playground proved that we need a clear understanding of what’s safe and acceptable in order for ingenuity and inventiveness to flourish. That means your children will flourish and you’ll function better as a parent when guidelines are clearly communicated, and the consequences for not following them are completely understood.
There’s a humorous story of a father who gave his sixteen-year-old son his first car. Before handing him the keys, he said, ‘This is a magic car, Son.’
‘Really?’ the boy replied.
‘Yeah,’ answered his dad. ‘One speeding ticket—and it will disappear!’
And if you buy a car for your child, it should be a ‘magic’ car too.
Bottom line: God sets the rules for success in life, and He rewards those who honour them. In the words of Scripture: ‘Study this Book of Instruction continually… obey everything written in it… then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.’ (Joshua 1:8 NLT)