Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dangerous Fences - Higher and Stronger (Walls and Fences)

(a parable)

A few weeks after building the fence between us and our son, we were sitting at the kitchen table of our daughter's house. The mood was sad, and we missed our son's lively conversation. It broke our hearts to have to cut him off like that, but what else could we do?

While we were discussing how we had no choice, we heard a giant CRASH. When we ran into the yard, one of my daughter's kids was breaking down a fence. The anger and bitterness in her voice was palpable, as she screamed about hating fences and oppression. Our son's influence was being felt already. This merely confirmed for us that we had made the right decision.

 Of course, we had to rebuild that fence, but we made it stronger and higher. The offending child was given a few extra temporary fences, and the problem seemed to be addressed effectively. But it wasn't, and soon the fence was knocked down again, only this time a couple of the kids were involved. It didn't matter how strong or high my daughter made the fences, they would get together and smash through it.

It was a hard decision, but my daughter confined the offending children to the house. They had to be kept safe from the danger, and danger seemed to be cropping up more and more these days. What else was she to do? She obviously loves her children, and their safety is her primary concern. It seemed that walls were better than fences.

The difficulty of keeping the children occupied in the house was obvious, but my daughter is a clever lady. She poured her life into the kid's education, making sure to teach them about the importance of high and strong fences. She paid special attention to explaining the danger of going over, around, or through fences. That way, when they left the house, they would be able to stay safe.

Every once in a while they would venture out, but only when she was there to tell them exactly what to do. That was when I noticed the children had learned a secret way out of the house. As long as their mother thought they were playing in their rooms, they could go outside and play. My daughter was doing everything right, but the high walls and strong fences didn't seem to help. They always seemed to find a way over, around, or through both walls and fences.

No wall was high enough, and no fence was strong enough. As a grandfather, I couldn't do much other than watch, and I couldn't help but feel that the children were like a seething pot. While the kids were relatively well managed, they didn't seem contented or happy. They say you get to see how effective you were as a parent when you watch your grandchildren, and I was beginning to get nervous. The situation seemed hopeless...

Next: One More Time Around the Fences
Previous: Fences or Windows

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