Dad’s Rules

If Dad had a rule, it was meant to teach me a lesson. (Image by Gerhard Litz from Pixabay)

When I was growing up, there was a standing rule in our house – if the teacher punished us at school, dad punished us at home.

This rule was no questions asked. I never heard dad say, “I’ll go talk to your teacher about this.” The teacher was the authority in the classroom, and if discipline came, we must have deserved it.

Our home punishment was fitting to the school punishment. Schools still engaged in
spanking a child back then. I never received a spanking from my teacher, but I knew that dad would also spank me at home if I had. Detention was the usual discipline received (Do they have detention anymore?). Detention was spending an hour after school doing some menial task like writing the sentence “I will not be late to class” one hundred times. Likewise, at home, dad would find something for me to do that seemed like a tremendous waste of time.

The lesson dad was teaching us is that you respect authority and obey the rules.

Now another illustration from my childhood.

One day, I hit a baseball that broke the neighbor’s window. I do not know who exactly paid for the window repairs other than the fact that I had to paint Mr. Boswell’s garage. When I arrived on day one, Mr. Boswell had already placed tape around the garage’s only window frame. He showed me the buckets of paint, gave me two brushes, one four inches wide and another one-inch brush, told me to have a good day, and left. The arrangement was that I would paint from noon till six every day until I finished.

The job took several days, and I was so happy when I finished, but at age thirteen, I was not expecting an inspection. It was about fifteen minutes before quitting time. I knocked on the door and told Mr. Boswell the job was done. My neighbor took me around the garage. “You missed a spot here… A thicker coat is needed there.” I was not happy spending another day fixing my errors, but at the end of the next day, the job met Mr. Boswell’s approval. A half- century later and I still snarl inside when I see a green painted anything.

My father used Mr. Boswell’s garage to teach me to respect other people’s property. If you damage something that does not belong to you, you replace it; you pay for it. If you do not have the money, you work for it. Settle the matter – treat those around you and what they have worked for with honor and respect.

To a young individual, writing, “I will not be late to class” for an hour seems like a colossal waste of time. Also, painting the neighbor’s garage without getting paid is a young teen’s definition of a wasted week of summer vacation. But, those “waste of time” moments brought lessons that lasted a lifetime.

The ultimate authority is God, and all authority comes from Him. Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” The rest of Romans 13 explains that God will hold everyone with authority responsible to Him. Government leaders are there for the punishment of evil and the protection of the nation from enemies. In other words, a judicial system and a military.

The President, king, or prime minister of every nation receives their power from God.
Parents, teachers, the boss at work, the sixteen-year-old shift leader at the fast-food restaurant – anyone that holds any authority – receives that authority from God.

Since all authority comes down from God, when respect for God evaporates, the respect
for other authority disappears as well. Disrespect for teachers, parents, law enforcement officers, and every other person of authority reigns in our nation.

Fifty years ago, a kid accidentally breaks a window – he paints a garage. Today, if you are upset at law enforcement – you burn down the neighborhood businesses. Then the local government, whom God has placed to punish evil and protect its citizens, defunds those given the job to uphold the law. Now police are being ambushed around the nation. Cause and effect are real, and our country is seeing the results.

About the time I was painting Mr. Boswell’s garage, the nation lost its respect for God. Now the country has very little respect for any authority.

When there is a disrespect for God, disrespect will simultaneously grow in other areas
God has ordained. Marriage, human life, church, the Bible, law and order, among others, are affected.

The rioting, the mass shootings, the attacks on police, the chaos engulfing many families will stop once respect for God returns. Sadly, it may take a generation or two for this to happen. We will notice the change taking shape once people start having regard for Mr. Boswell and his window.

* * * * *

With houses of worship currently closed or restricted across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.