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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)

TITLE: Laying Down the Law
By Stephen Paynter


“Isn’t she cute?” Jayne’s friend cooed. “Who’s a clever baby, then? Crawl to your auntie.”

Jayne, proud, smiled dotingly down as her little Clarissa looked up, gurgled, and then made towards her friend.

Clarissa’s movements were still a little uncertain. “Like a badly animated dinosaur,” her father had pronounced when he’d seen her first efforts at self-locomotion the previous evening.

Clarissa, distracted by a toy in her path, changed direction and came to leg of the table. Looking up, she was obviously entranced by the edge of the table cloth which hung down. She reached up to it.

Jayne seeing the danger said, “No!” in a warning voice. “No.”

Clarissa looked round at her, smiled, and then reached again for the pretty cloth.

Jayne scooped Clarissa up, told her she was a “naughty, naughty girl”, and then placed her in her friend’s hands.


“You are not going to an unsupervised party, young lady, and that is final!”

Clarissa sighed, rolled her eyes, and then, noticing her mother’s expression, changed to a wheedling tone.

“But Mom …”

“There are no `buts’ in this situation. You are too young.”

“I’m nearly fifteen. Practically my whole class will be there.”

“I don’t care if your whole school is. You know our rules. You can’t go, unless there will be parental supervision. And I learnt from Jason’s mother that the Smiths will be out of town all weekend. I must say, learning that pertinent piece of information from someone else did nothing to convince your father and me that you actually are mature enough to be trusted on occasions like this.”

“Whatever!” Clarissa stomped off, no doubt to play her music far too loud.

Jayne thought of confronting her about her lapse of respect, but decided to pick a time and place for that battle when Clarissa wasn’t feeling quite as deeply disappointed as at present.


“Goodnight, Mom. Don’t wait up.” Clarissa shut the door, and hurried down the drive to where Jason was waiting on his motorcycle.

Jayne turned, and looked helplessly at her husband.

“Hey, we’ve got to trust her. There’s nothing else we can do.”

Jayne sighed. “I know. My little girl is a grown woman now. We are just lucky to have this time with her, while she is home from college. It is just … Oh I don’t know … I feel so helpless.”

“Well, we can’t police what she gets up to at college, and if we want her to feel comfortable returning to us, we’ve got to show we trust her and respect the decisions she makes.”

“I know. But that doesn’t make it any easier. My little girl, dating! I want to lay down a thousand dos and don’ts.”

“Well, rules are all very well, but don’t forget Paul tells us they only provoke us to break them. God’s way is to change our hearts. The policeman we really need is the Spirit who calls out within us, `This is the way, walk in it.’”

“I know. So … let’s pray.”

“I’m with you there!”

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, `This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

“But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.” Romans 7:8-11 (NIV)

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This article has been read 634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sue Dent10/20/06
Ohhhhh, I soooo needed to read this. My Amanda is thirteen! I'm in that second phase you spoke of. "No, you can't go to spend the night but you may stay until 10:00!" etc, etc . . . And I just told her the other day that I will still have to police her for quite some time. Thank you for the verses.
Marilyn Schnepp 10/20/06
A rare gem - finding a really, truly interesting read in a devotional type story. Or, perhaps the gem is the devotional with an enlightening anecdote - whatever! It worked. I liked it. Kept my interest. Made sense -and Well written.
Donna Haug10/21/06
Yes, I definately relate! I liked the stages and the mother's reactions to the child. A great reminder to keep prayer as our #1 defense for our children.
william price10/23/06
Very nicely done. Enjoyed the depth and detail of the story. God bless.
Jan Ackerson 10/24/06
I loved this--your writing style is very pleasant. I also found it fascinating, the great contrast between Helen's approach to this topic and yours. A family of very gifted writers! Having raised two daughters, I can attest to the accuracy of the situations here. Good job!
Peggy Bennitt10/25/06
You blind-sided me with your use of police! This usage had crossed my mind, but I couldn't think of a viable way to present it. You did, and did it well! Super job with this very important take on the word police!