When we were little children learning to color, our parents would tell us to "stay in the lines."
We were to color in certain areas, not to color outside the lines of the figures in the coloring book.
That took some time and practice to master.
Yes, it was supposed to be fun but there were other reasons for staying in the line..
Teachers tell us that children can learn many things from the simple task of coloring. They develop fine motor skills that will help them later when learning things like writing. It also teaches hand-eye coordination and focus
Coloring is a way of self expression and teaches concentration.
When a child's concentration improves they will be able to better focus on other more complex tasks.
Giving a child a coloring activity helps them develop their decision making skills. The child can decide what colors to use as well as the direction of the picture. They also learn neatness, visual perception, how to follow directions, creativity, and how to finish a task on time.
Children that are able to make the decision to complete the task often have a better time academically. Completion also teaches children the value of hard work and dedication.
In early childhood teachers often give coloring sheets that focus on the alphabet, shapes and numbers.
A simple coloring sheet can reinforce the lessons being taught in the classroom.
Not just in the classroom, but all through life we are taught to stay withing the line.
This week I watched an old classic movie about Folsom prison. In one scene, inmates were lined up in the courtyard behind a white line.
They stood single file waiting to be called into the warden's office for punishment for infractions within the walls. Usually they were given solitary confinement for 10 or 30 days. Any prisoner who stepped over the white line before being summoned, was immediately shot by guards. The prisoners knew that they had to stay within the line or be killed. Now that's an extreme illustration but it proves my point about staying within the line.
On the highways there are yellow lines or double yellow lines in the center of the highway. They are there for safety reasons. Drivers know that one must not cross the double lines or face possible headon collisions. The yellow lines indicate when the driver must stay on his side of the highway unless there is no traffic to hinder passing.
Without those highway cautions, there would be chaos on the highways. The driver must learn the rules for staying on his side of the line and when he may pass another vehicle safely.
I recall an incident where this rule was not followed, with dire consequences.
A young airman and his new wife and their baby were traveling on highway 55 near Steele, Mo.
He crossed the line to pass the vehicle in front of his car. When he pulled out, his car was hit by an oncoming semi-truck.
The airman and his wife were killed instantly, but the baby survived the horrific crash. The baby had been in the back seat in a small crib enclosure. The truck driver, horrifed, rushed to the wrecked car and rescued the crying baby just before the car burst into flames. The baby suffered a broken leg and her tiny body was covered with slivers of broken glass. She was taken to Hayti hospital for care.
My husband and I heard about the accident on the local news but, to us, it was just another unfortunate accident on the highway.
A couple of days later, my husband received a phone call from a former Air Force friend living in Spokane, Wa.
It turns out that the young deceased woman was the friend's daughter and the airman was his son-in-law. The couple had been traveling to Spokane to visit with their parents. When they failed to arrive as scheduled, the parents became concerned. In short time, they received word that their daughter and son-in-law were dead and their granddaughter injured.
The Air Force friend telephoned my husband in Arkansas and asked that he go to the lot where the demolished car had been hauled. He wanted to retrieve anything that might have survived the crash and fire.
My husband was able to do that for him. Hidden beneath the burned front passenger seat was the young woman's wedding ring, blackened from the fire..
All the retrieved items were sent to the Spokane friends.
My husband and I later learned that the baby was raised as the grandparent's own in following years.
How sad that the young airman did not stay on his side of the yellow line until it was safe to pass.
There are lines pertaining to marriage that must not be crossed. There are lines in our christian lives that restrain us from committing sin. The ten commandments teach that we are to stay within certain boundaries. Thou shalt not..
Staying in the lines isn't always easy, but it is the best way.
And avoids consequences.