Sunday, July 11, 2010
Color Crayon Doctrine
My quickly approaching four-year-old daughter posed a befuddling question to me this afternoon, "Cori (yes, she likes to call me by name), why do grown-ups color in the lines?" Upon considering her query, I was tempted to respond with, "because it makes a prettier picture," but then it quickly occurred to me that my daughter's colorful and carefree expressions, which most would interpret as scribbles, often can be described as beautiful and engaging, so I stopped short of responding anything more than, "I don't know!" In fact, I immediately began to question whether instructing our children to color inside the lines might unintentionally squelch their individuality, so maybe, I wondered, "Is it bad for our children or wrong to inhibit them in such a way?" Of course, I had to follow our short conversation with a facebook post to flaunt my adorable, genious and elicit some opinions from my friends concerning the coloring conundrum in which I now found myself! One comment in particular got the few undamaged brain cells that remain after my stroke to firing, and they haven't cooled since. Basically, my friend suggested that coloring in the lines is neither right nor wrong good nor bad, but just a simple way for a child to learn self-discipline, which appealed to my understanding of life just as much as my initial, maybe, there's not any value to training a child to stay in the lines like everyone else other than stifling their creativity and creating a little conformist. Neither of which appealed to me as a goal I want to acheive in my parenting career. Anyway, my mind connected from here to the concept of living inside the boundaries that God has established for our safety, which I have blogged about previously. We are all likely aware that God has set forth certain guidelines, boundaries, commandments, or rules in his written word, the Bible. Much like we as parents set rules for our children to protect them because we love them, God sets the boundaries for our physical, emotional, and spiritual safety as we live here on this earth. It is my belief that choosing to live within these established lines although it requires a great deal of self-dscipline allows us to avoid many of the consequential hardships and tradgedies that we often note others experiencing. Often, wondering why God wants to keep us from the apparent fun on the other side, we are tempted to cross over and soon learn from what exactly our loving father wanted to protect us! caused us. Just like my daughter's coloring pages, at first, the activity going on outside the lines looks enjoyable and exciting, and we may even feel cheated or stifled by keeping inside the boundary lines God established, but we soon learn that life outside the lines is messy and confusing and not nearly as attractive or fun as it first seemed, but by no means does this imply that we cannot color/live with great passion, exuberance, and creativity within the healthy and safe boundaries that God has established, so commit today to making your life a lovely, colorful, and creative picture colored by you just for God that he can hang on his refrigerator with pride and delight when you hand it over to him when you're finished, and remember, for your own enjoyment along the way color with exuberance INSIDE the lines he has established to protect you!:) Also, if it is your desire to carefully color inside the lines of the picture your life is, it might be wise to familiarize yourself with the boundaries God has established by reading his word regularly because you might be surprised by how easy it is to unwittinly scribble in some areas of life when we get distracted by the ever changing views and opinions of the world around us!