Consequences that are decided as a family are neutral. The parent's responsibility is to carry out the consequences. Parents that carry out consequences are carrying out their responsibility in a neutral rule. God will not attempt to control his children, though he loves them immensely. A just parent will also not give directives to his child for the sake of servitude or control.
Molly, a single mother, came home from work one day feeling very tired. As usual, she sat down on the couch and went into relaxation mode. She was very thirsty so she called her oldest daughter and told her to bring her a glass of lemonade. Her youngest child needed feeding, so she asked her son to feed him and give him a bath. When it was time to eat, she told her youngest children to set the table and her oldest to prepare the food. Molly, herself, did not help. She reasoned that paying the bills and going to work was help enough.
After dinner, Molly relaxed again on the couch. She gave directions as to which child was going to wash, which one would clear the table, which one would take out the trash, and who would turn on her bath water. After her bath, Molly told the children to go to bed while she watched her favorite television show. When her show was done, she called in her oldest daughter to turn down her covers and Molly went to sleep.
The older Molly’s children became the more they came to resent their mother. Their mother did not do much work around the house and they began to follow suit. Unless their mother was present, they did not clean up around the home. As time went on, they even began to refuse to follow their mother’s orders when she was present. Soon, cleaning up and completing chores became a contest of wills. Molly would give a directive and the children would refuse. Mistrust and discord became the norm in the home.
Molly’s oldest daughter began to seek out love and affection elsewhere. She began to date boys that were of unsavory character. Her daughter also sought after affection through having a child of her own. After high school, Molly’s daughter had little contact with Molly.
Jack, a single father, came home feeling very tired and worn out from a hard day’s work. When he got home, he divided up the chores according to a chart that the family had written. The chart gave Jack the brunt of the load.
The children knew their father was tired and respected that he was tackling the greatest part of the workload at home. When they finished with their chores, they gladly helped him with his part. Jack received their help graciously and reciprocated his gratitude with kind words and encouragement. Jack’s family kept a schedule on the wall that helped everyone to get their work done at approximately the same time every day.
As time went on, the family no longer had to divide up the work. Everyone recognized that there was work to be done. The chores around the house became a team effort. Without being told, someone would wash the dishes, another would sweep the floor, and another would take out the trash.
Eventually everyone fell into a pattern where they would start cleaning up and head off into bed at the same time every day. This time reflected the original schedule that the family had written, but no one paid attention to it anymore. The rhythm of the evening had become natural. The unity that was created through Jack’s example was felt as the children grew into adulthood. When the children moved out of the home, the closeness remained.