There once was a boy and a girl who grew up in a small town. As these stories go, Jonathan and Amy fell in love with each other and were married. But along the way they discovered something else they had in common: both loved their little town and they loved serving it.
In particular, Jonathan and Amy both loved keeping the peace and safety by being police officers. And so this husband and wife became officers of the law. And the community loved them. Two of their own would be serving the town!
However, Jonathan and Amy soon realized that one particular aspect of their job was especially challenging. They had to give out speeding tickets. What made this a challenge was that, since they grew up in this town, they were giving the tickets out to their friends and people they loved.
At first they would just give their friends a warning. But they discovered that they were giving them lots of warnings. Their friends never seemed to change. Then they found their own hearts getting upset that they had to stop so many people. They would come home from work frustrated that their friends were not heeding their warning. They kept speeding!
What were they going to do? They felt like the joy was being sucked out of their job. Finally, they decided to have breakfast with Frank, the retired policeman who had served the city for many years. They would ask his advice.
After explaining the situation to them, Frank sympathized a little bit and then said, “The solution is fairly simple. The question is, ‘Will you take my advice and be consistent with it?'”
“Yes,” they said. “Anything. We love our jobs and the people. We are desperate.”
An Old-Timer’s Advice
Frank continued with the things they must do.
First, you must believe in the laws. Run for city council so you can change the silly speed limits. Make sure all the speed limits are realistic and an expression of love. Also make sure the fines are real deterrents. A $20 ticket will probably not stop the behavior.
Second, every day get ready for work knowing that part of your job will be to give people you love speeding tickets. They will plead with you and tell you they don’t have the money. You will feel torn in your heart. But if they are speeding, you must enforce the law. Remember it is act of love for their good. They don’t realize how these laws will save their lives and others’.
Third, give out your tickets with care and without anger. You can even sympathize with them. “Oh, Mrs. Jones, are you speeding through this area again? Didn’t I just give you a ticket last week? Well, this time the fine has to be doubled. I hope that will help you remember next time. I am doing this because I care.”
“It was that simple?” thought Jonathan and Amy. “That was it?”
Jonathan and Amy had believed they were loving their friends by not giving tickets. Now they saw that loving their friends meant they had to give their friends tickets.
A Young Couple’s New Perspective
And that’s what the couple did.
First, they served on the city council so that all the speed limit laws were for people’s real safety. There were no speed traps. They wanted their friends to have the maximum freedom and still have a safe, orderly community. But they also upped several fine amounts to be more effective.
Second, every day as they got ready to go to work, they knew they would encounter their friends speeding. They also knew they would be tempted to let them off with a warning. But they knew from past experience that only a real consequence would change behavior.
Third, because they went to work expecting their friends to speed, they found that they were less angry. They gave out tickets not because they were angry but with a little tinge of sadness.
Guess what happened to our little town? With better speed limits, better enforcement, and kinder policemen, the accidents in the town dropped dramatically. Jonathan and Amy found themselves better liked. The drivers knew they were breaking the law and deserved the consequence.
Jonathan and Amy were happier. Their friends (eventually) were happier. And the town was safer. All because of a change of perspective.
Parents of young children, go and do likewise.
Enjoy this post?
Want more information like it? Check out our Parenting with Confidence online course and workbook. It is our Parenting 101 material and helps young parents move from anxiety to confidence, from fear to faith. It is perfect for individual or small group study. Click here for more information.