I want my kids home before dark. I don't care what the clock says, especially in the winter, I want them home and in my house so I know they arrived safely and I don't have to worry about them possibly walking home alone. If I have a little one away, I send one of the bigger kids to get them or go pick them up myself, before dark.
When my children have friends over, I make sure their friends are home before dark, even if it means one of us walking or driving their child home.
And yet, my kids don't always see it that way. They think that just because they are right across the street, it doesn't matter. That the short distance makes it okay. Here and there one will communicate with me beforehand, and I might okay an exception for a really good reason, but normally if one of them wanders in after dark, they will hear about it from their mom, and there may be other consequences.
I realized a similar phenomena in church recently. It happens all the time during lessons, but the ah-ha came Sunday during a lesson on being "In the World, But Not of the World." The lesson could be taken very broadly, but it specifically mentioned four subjects - keeping the Sabbath Day holy, obeying the Word of Wisdom, respecting the name of Deity, and dressing modestly and keeping the law of chastity. The night before teaching the lesson, I read the story of Eli Herring, and his choice of declining an NFL contract because he would have to play on Sunday. (Here's a New Era article about him, and another article I really liked.) I was very impressed by how seriously and spiritually he sought direction, and shared the story during my lesson.
Immediately a hand was raised, and stories were shared about others that work on Sunday and the opportunities that have come, and others that have chosen to play ball on Sunday.
I didn't feel prompted to share it during the lesson, but during my lesson prep I had written at the top of my manual, "We need to stop looking for the exceptions, and seek to better follow the rule."
Why do we do that? Why can't we sit through a lesson on, for instance, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and listen to the spirit about how we can personally make adjustments to better follow that? Why is there a need to defend?
I love what the other article author said in the comments section to someone giving exceptions:
I want my sons to go on a mission and to keep the Sabbath day holy throughout their lives because I know that the Lord will bless them immeasurably for doing so. And to help make that happen, I want to give my sons examples of people who keep those commandments even if they are under extreme pressure to do otherwise. Going on a mission and keeping the Sabbath day holy is the rule. That’s not to say there aren’t inspired exceptions at times. But I wouldn’t hold up the exceptions as examples to my sons. I hold up as examples those people who keep the standard regardless of temporal consequences.I don't know if we're afraid of setting a bar and shooting for it, or of offending others by showing we're shooting for it, or... or... what.