We used the illustration of an umbrella as a symbol of God’s authority in our lives.
He had a picture of one up on the screen as he explained that authority is not something to be feared or hated, but something that God has built into creation to protect us from harm.
It’s not hard to see how that works if you have small children. Little ones seem to think that Mom and Dad are omniscient and omnipotent—that we have all knowledge and all power.
It’s a good thing they’re that way. They have such a gift for getting into trouble! Falls, burns, bites, scrapes, sprains, chokings—small kids seem to be gifted in the area of hurting themselves. Not to mention the carnage they can cause to the household environment. They need to respect the power and knowledge of their parents for the sake of their own survival.
All of us chafe occasionally at the decrees of authority. That speed limit is ridiculously low for that stretch of road. That tax rate is far too high. Why is there so much regulation on everything I want to do?
Yet when you stop and think about it, the vast majority of the limitations set down by authority in our lives, from parents to husbands to government to church, are for our good. We need to teach this to our children while they’re still young.
One of the ways we do this is by curbing the natural tendency to complain about our own authorities. Yes, they can be wrong. And when they are wrong, they should be held accountable because they, too are under authority. But what do our children see in our overall attitude toward authority? If we are constantly complaining about it, we can expect to hear our children complain about our edicts, too.
So teach your children a positive attitude toward the authorities in their lives. Of course they should obey God if human authority tells them to do something against His will. But that is seldom the case. Far more often, they will be kept safe by obedience and trust. Teach them to trust you as their parents, then prove worthy of that trust by leading them in the right way.
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