When he learned to crawl a few months ago, once he got the hang of it- he just took off. I used to be able to sit him on the floor with a few toys around him and check in on him every few minutes while I got things done around the house. I clearly remember the day when I set him down, got something out of the fridge, turned around, and he was gone. He was at the top of the stairs and I caught him just in time. Very soon after that, the baby gates went up.
With the baby gates up, I can contain him to the main floor of the house and I don’t have to worry about not having my eye on him every second. With boundaries, there is peace. With boundaries, Luke is free explore his world without falling down the stairs and getting hurt.
As I was grocery shopping the other day, I was thinking about how the boundaries of the budget give this same peace. Before we started budgeting, I always felt guilty about grocery shopping. I know we need to eat food, but did I spend too much? Even if a steak was on a good sale, should I have opted for something cheaper instead?
Now, with a budget, I have a set amount to spend. Within that amount, I have freedom to splurge a little on special occasions and cut back in other areas, as long as I meet by budget by the end of the month. Boundaries give peace, and freedom.
And so it is with our wise Heavenly Father. He gives us the 10 commandments and the teachings of the Church – not to restrict us, but to give us freedom. I put up a gate so Luke doesn’t fall down the stairs. God give us rules and boundaries so we don’t fall from grace. And with a “morality budget”, if you will, we are guided to not overspend on earthly desires so we don’t suffer the consequences later.
In the parenting world, I think that’s how strategies like Love and Logic work. You give them two choices to choose between. You have set some boundaries- they only get choices that you have already deemed good choices- but they still get some freedom to choose between the two.
So even though I’m fairly new to this whole parenting thing, I suspect if we keep in mind that boundaries give freedom through security, we can pass that mentality on to our children. Not only through our own set of parenting rules, but through handing down the doctrine of faith as well. God is a parent who loves us, and his rules are there to protect us; to give us freedom and peace.