Caution: Children Need Directions
Picture this. The two-story convention center is full of thousands of children, teens, moms, dads, and grandparents. There’s a constant buzz of activity in the exhibit hall on the first floor.
Everyone on the second floor is coming and going. Doors to the seminar rooms line one side of the wide hallway. Bathrooms are on the other side. People coming up the escalator step off in the middle. People are everywhere.
With many others, I simply needed to walk from one side of the hallway to the other. But, between where I was and where I needed to be, people scurried every which way. Some pushed strollers. Others pulled carts full of books. Some stopped dead in their tracks to examine the convention program or to bend down and talk with a child. Some exuberant children ran in zig-zag style to get where they were going. It was impossible to tell which direction people would turn when stepping off the escalator. Navigating even a few feet wasn’t easy.
It wouldn’t have been practical, of course, but one-way “streets” lined out on the carpet would have helped. Yield signs and stop signs would have been amazing.
Accidents Are Likely
Can you imagine if our roads weren’t marked? Like me, have you driven some so newly paved that the white lines, yellow lines, and dashed lines haven’t been painted yet? I have and when I do, I never feel as secure as I do when the lines are there. This is true even when I’m on a road I drive often.
Even when it’s easy to see the edge of the road, the yellow line that makes the edge obvious is helpful. I drive with more confidence. I have greater security.
Even when there’s no oncoming traffic, I like knowing where the middle of the road is. When traffic is coming toward me, I’m especially grateful to have that boundary line. I’m able to drive with confidence.
Similarly, children of all ages benefit from clear boundary lines. Without them, they don’t know where to go or how to get there. They’ll bump into others and have to start and restart just like many of us had to do in the hallway.
Do you want your kids to be confident? Secure? Sure-footed? Then provide the boundaries. Be the boundaries. Boundaries are blessings and not burdens when they’re appropriate and communicated with love.