jmb275 wrote: At what point did you tell your kids that you want them to seek clarification and not just obey to obey? At what point does your expectation of them change, and how did you let them know this?
I try to introduce the concept by the time they are in school. Just this morning I told my 2nd grader to immediately leave what she was doing and get in the car to go to school (she sometimes has difficulty breaking away). On the way to school I tried to explain that I only demanded her specific action because I'm trying to help her understand how to make good decisions. ("When it's time to go to school you go so you won't be late - being on time to school is more important than finishing a task at home.") I told her that's our job as parents, to help them learn how to make smart decisions. Several times before I've said "if you don't understand why we ask you to do certain things please ask." I really believe it's more important for them to develop a sound and independent decision making ability than to end up "perfectly obedient" as teenagers.
Whether we like it or not they will make their own decisions soon enough - whether they're ready to or not. I hope to help them be more ready than not. In my mind (I have not dealt with teenagers in the home yet) I hope to say "I trust you to make a good decision" more often than not as they grow through high school. When they live under your roof you have the opportunity to discuss the good and bad results to specific decisions, if their first chance to make their own decisions is after they leave - who's going to observe and talk it over with them?
jmb275 wrote: I see your point, but I think the analogy breaks down because we are not pre-school aged kids. Pre-schoolers are mentally too immature to make sound decisions, and hence we, as parents, have an obligation to care for them. Do we really want to entrust ourselves to our leaders as full fledged adults whether or not our understanding of the Gospel is immature? I would be concerned about any adult who feels that their relationship with the Brethren is like pre-school child to parent even if they're a new convert.
Hmmm… I guess I only see a cultural phenomenon that breaks down with the application of this analogy. I certainly don’t see a significant “age difference” (young child to adult) between the larger church membership and the leaders. I view this “mortal existence” as something like a youth summer camp – away from “home.” No, we don’t have any “adults” here (that would require God status) so effectively we have “youth” leaders that take the phone calls dealing with camp administration issues. We also have our own calls to home, and when in question about what we should do I think you have to consider the experience of the youth leader, but also follow your heart and consider your calls home. In the end it’s your decision and you will bear responsibility for it.
jmb275 wrote: But how do I avoid conflating the rules from the Brethren and the church with the rules from Heavenly Father?
I think that is an excellent question, …perhaps one of the primary questions that we have our lives to work on. Sometimes I wonder if this specific test is designed into the program to really test our independent leadership ability -- afterall, is our purpose at camp to grow into a responsible "adult"? What is the balance?