Within the past year, we have had two instances of a child pulling a fire alarm in the Children's Center on our Pelham Road campus. Once was in between services on a Sunday morning, and today it was right before a home school co-op was starting up. Neither time was the offender caught, but both times there were consequences for others: programming (where children were being discipled) was disrupted for dozens -- if not several hundred -- children, fire men responded to a false alarm (drawing them away from potential life-saving duties), a monetary fine was required, and young children got upset at the noise of the alarm.
One thing I realized was that while my older two children know to not pull fire alarms except in an emergency, I don't remember ever specifically telling my 3-year-old to not pull a fire alarm. I would hope that we've taught him enough to know that he is not to touch things that do not belong to him. But from experience I know that he is a selfish sinner who needs to grow in self-control. I need to specifically tell him that fire alarms are only for emergencies.
Similarly, based on a suggestion we saw on a news show, I had a talk the other day with my older children about talking with strangers. Like most parents, we have tried to teach our children to love and serve others. However, evil-minded adults could use this against us. Predators have been known to ask a child for help (as in "Can you help my find my lost puppy? He likes little boys.") in order to lure them away from safety. So, I told my children that an adult who is a stranger should never need help from a child. If a strange adult needs help, they should find another adult.
If you are like me, there are some things that are easy to assume that our children would know, and some things that we do well in emphasizing. For example, most parents are great about teaching children to not run in the street, but can you think of a few examples where you have not specifically forbidden and warned against an unsafe action?
-- Joey Espinosa