Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

Rules!

A Character story about obedience.

"Hi, Mom," Mike yelled, dumping his book bag on the table. "I'm goin' out to mess around with Colin for a while."
"Is your homework done?" his mother asked.
"I only have a little and-"
"You know the rule, young man. Homework comes before play. If it's only a little, I'm sure Colin won't mind waiting."
"But Mom-"
"No 'buts' about it. Rules are rules."
Mike knew better than to say anything more, but he swung his head so his mother knew he didn't like it.
That night at supper, Mike was excited. "Guess what, Dad. Mr. Sparks invited the guys in our Sunday school class on an overnight camp out."
"Isn't it a little cold to be camping out?"
"Naw, not for us," Mike responded, stuffing a large carrot into his mouth. "Anyway, he has a cabin. It's gunna be a week from Friday and-"
"Mike," his mother interrupted. "You know the rule. Don't talk with your mouth full. It's very impolite."
Mike chewed twice and swallowed. "Anyway, we're gunna cook on an open fire and everything. I can go, can't I?"
"It sounds O.K. as long as Mr. Sparks will be supervising, and as long as you follow what he says."
"Oh, sure. You know me."
"Yes, and that's the very reason I said something. You're not very willing of late to do what we ask. In order for this home to function, we must have rules and everyone must follow them. Rules come from God, and He wants us to obey them. If we do, they will be our friends."
That night, Mike's mother gave his sister Sheila permission to stay up an extra 15 minutes to get her homework done. "That isn't fair," Mike complained. "How come I have to go to bed, but Sheila gets to stay up longer. You said everyone has to follow the rules, but that 'everyone' means only me." But all his complaining did him no good.
As Mike lay in bed, he thought of all the rules in his life. The more he remembered, the madder he got. "I hate rules," he huffed. "When I grow up, I'm not going to have any rules at all. I'll just do as I please."
The next night after school some of the boys went down to the rink to play hockey. "Hey, Mike, stop it," Colin ordered. "You know you can't grab my hockey stick like that. You should sit out for two minutes."
"Aw, more stupid rules," Mike responded. "That's all I hear any more. 'Mike do this,' or 'Mike don't do that.' I'm sick of it. I wish we could just play a game without rules."
"O.K. Let's. We'll play a game of hockey with no rules." The boys all agreed. The conversation during that few minutes went something like this:
"Hey, you can't throw the puck?" "Who says? Our team has three points, cause we get a point every time we hit the puck." "Oh yeah? Well, we get a point every time we see the puck." "And we get 20 points every time our skates touch the ice." "And we get a million points every time we say hockey." "And we get a zillion points for every snowflake in the whole world."
Finally Mike admitted, "I-I guess it doesn't work to play without rules."
"Not just rules, but the right rules," Colin agreed. "That's what Mr. Sparks was telling us in Sunday school about God's laws too."
The next week Mike worked hard to get his homework done. He didn't want anything to hinder his going on the camp out. That Friday was a clear, but cold night. As Mr. Sparks stopped the car, he turned around and spoke to the boys. "We have a bit of a hike from here to the cabin. Since it's already dusk, you must follow these simple rules. Everyone is to stay close together and on the path. Is that clear?" The boys nodded.
Quickly they swung their backpacks into place and were off, single file through the snowy woods with Mr. Sparks leading the way and Mike at the rear. About 10 minutes down the trail, Mike saw something jump in front of him, and dash into the woods. "Hey, a rabbit, guys. If we catch it, we could have fresh meat over the fire." No one responded, and Mike was sure he could catch it quickly, then rejoin the group. He dropped his pack and pushed through the trees in the rabbit's direction. He saw it again and lunged, just missing it as the rabbit hopped under a large fir tree. As Mike tried to crawl under the tree after it, an avalanche of snow plummeted down on him, covering his head, and filling his neck and boots. By time he cleaned himself off, he realized he had better get back to the trail before he lost the others. By now, however, the sky was too dark for him to make out the trail. After some searching, he found his back pack and then headed out as quickly as he could to catch them. But as the sky drew dark, he heard no sign of the boys nor saw any light. As he stumbled on, the feeling of panic increased. Suddenly he saw a dark object ahead. Maybe that was the cabin. He broke into the clearing, only to discover it was Mr. Sparks' car. Mike tried all the doors. It was locked. If someone didn't come before long, he would freeze to death. Oh, why didn't I follow the rules? he thought. Now I've ruined it for everyone. He sat down next to the car rubbing his gloved hands together to feel some heat. Suddenly he heard a noise. He looked up just as Mr. Sparks broke into the clearing.
"B-boy, am I g-glad to s-see you!" Mike stammered.
"And I'm glad to see you too," Mr. Sparks answered, opening the car and starting it up to warm them both. By the time Mike was warm, he had told Mr. Sparks the whole story. "I-I'm sorry for ruining it for the others."
"Oh, I don't think you ruined it," he responded. They prayed together for your safety, then got a good fire going while I came back for you. I just hope you learned your lesson."
"Believe me, I did. I can see that rules are really suppose to be friends and they will help us, if we do what they say."