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5. The Relationship of Authority and Control

We can get a better handle on the issues if we look at the relationship between authority and control.

(1) Authority means the responsibility and right to direct and cause another to follow directions. This means the responsibility and right, as necessary, to exercise power to control, restrain, curb, or corral, i.e., the power to use one’s authority to bring about pressure to restrain someone from going off course to the left or the right or from running unrestrained as mentioned in Proverbs 29:15.

(2) Authority means the responsibility and right to establish standards that become the measure or the tests for bringing about controls. As authorized by God, parents have the responsibility for developing controls in children who are born without controls and who are inherently rebellious, going astray from birth (Prov. 29:15; Ps. 58:3). As mentioned, a baby’s need of diapers provides a good illustration. Babies must have external controls (diapers) until internal controls can be developed (toilet training). When parents fail to control and then train their children in the various areas of life, it is comparable to failure to use diapers and to never toilet train their child. Would you want to face the consequences of an undiapered, untoilet-trained child in your home? Of course not! But in many other ways, parents fail to establish controls, which have their own detrimental consequences to other family members, to the children themselves, and to others in society. In essence, the problems we have in our schools is really a parental problem.

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