Where are the teachers of rules?

By Rev. Ron Branch


Our second son, Keithen, and daughter-in-law, Jessica, post a lot of pictures and photos of their family on Facebook. This week they posted a video about their family’s recent Easter Egg hunt. For their three children, they hid a large number of plastic eggs for them to find. It was an exciting family affair for them.

The video started with Keithen and the kids gathered at the front door of their house. The kids were bouncing with anticipation. Keithen stood at the door barring them from leaving until his pre-egg finding pep talk was completed, which he delivered in swelling terms.

In the background, Keithen played audio from Michael Buffer who is famous for his long career as a ring announcer. Right as Keithen opened the door to let the kids loose to get out in the yard, Buffer could be heard giving his patented announcement, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” And, with no small amount of pushing and shoving, the kids rushed out. Video and pictures were taken as the kids found the yard prizes hidden in token manner and placed them in their baskets.

But, the matter that set me to laughing so hard was what Keithen said toward the end of the energizing pep talk. To his three young tots he yelled, “And, you may ask, ‘What are the rules? Well, I’m here to tell you that THERE ARE NO RULES!’”

When Terry and I had eggs hunts for our six boys over the years, we had to establish and enforce certain rules. For example, there was the “Ground Rule,” which stipulated that an egg on the ground was fair game, but eggs could not be confiscated from the brothers’ baskets. That rule was followed by the “Deliberate Ground Rule.” Baskets could not be jostled for the purpose of knocking brothers’ eggs to the ground and make them fair game. There was the enactment of the “Knock Down Rule.” Pushing a brother out of the way or down when an egg was simultaneously seen was not allowed. We had to come up with the “Space Rule,” and the “Uncovered Rule.”

Each of these rules – and others unnamed – was set in place because of one the boys in particular. It was all because of Keithen. He cheated. He pushed. He caused arguments to gain advantage. He would do anything to collect the most eggs hidden and win the contest ahead of his brothers.

And, then he tells his kids, “There are no rules!”

But, this fun accounting, on the other hand, gives rise to consider a very serious societal and spiritual situation for our contemporary circumstances. “There are no rules!” begs the consideration that teachers of rules these days are few and far between. The consequence is that a new generation is being raised without any direction about engaging life with decency and order from current parents and leaders referred to as “Millennials.”

There are necessary rules that should be taught to the up-coming generation. Some societal rules are general in terms of what it means to be respectful, kind, polite, and non-judgmental.

Certain spiritual rules are not only being ignored but are also deliberately not being taught simply because of apparent association with God, such as the Ten Commandments. These rules when taught give a certain compassionate consideration of those around us.

In either case, teachers of these rules and others seem to be a thinning number. There is nothing wrong and everything right to have basic rules about which to be held accountable and responsible, but it is incredibly important that there be those who will be willing to communicate them.

Therein is where the water meets the wheel. The truth of the matter is that those who fail to teach that there are rules are mushy of heart and mind. They are too feeble emotionally to take a stand. After all, it is reasoned, how can one be liked if they stipulate that there are rules that hold others accountable and responsible?

One of the matters emphasized in the Bible as it comes from God is to teach and to re-teach repeatedly basic and critical expectations and principles. If we are not teachers of rules, then we are inept in our own responsibility.


By Rev. Ron Branch

The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.

The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.