Breaking the Rules

My kids hear the "F" word constantly at school, used as an adjective, an adverb, a verb, or a noun. In fact, it's not unusual for a middle-school boy to call a girl a "F-ing H-."

"Forget Clean Films, Mom," my son said, referring to our membership in a company that edits DVDs for family viewing. "We need a Clean Schools' subscription."

It's not the hearing of profanities that worries me; I don't think that the boys will start swearing rampantly anytime soon. It's the constant exposure to a cavalier attitude about standards set by grownups. Will disrespect for these be contagious? Can we inoculate our kids against such a life-threatening condition?

On the other hand, when kids demonstrate too much grownup-pleasing obedience, it might lead to the kind of behavior we saw when Elizabeth Smart climbed out of her Salt Lake City window to follow the family handyman. Sometimes, it's right and Christ-honoring for our kids to "question authority." If a generation of young people hadn't challenged the Rules, for example, the civil rights movement would have proceeded at a much slower pace. And our kids wouldn't be able to stand for truth in the face of older, more powerful people who scoff at their faith.

Ambassador Families Question of the Week: How do we raise kids who are tough enough to take a stand when needed, and yet don't rebel against rules that will save their lives?

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