Now I've met kids before. I've never been ignorant that kids are sometimes bad. Everyone knows that kids misbehave. What has really been incredible for me is how quickly they figure it out. It is so instinctual.
The first rule that my son learned was to not touch the trash can. Often my wife or I are doing dishes in the kitchen, or maybe preparing food for him or us, and he's running around the kitchen playing. Every once and a while, he was wonder over to the trash can and try and touch it. We would tell him "no" and if he tried to touch it again, we would move him away. Eventually he learned that the trash can was off limits.
However, it is important to note how I knew he knew it was off limits. It wasn't that he started to stay away from it. It was that he started to watch me when he was about to touch it. His first overt act of sin immediately followed when he first became aware of a rule.
Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. -Romans 7:7a-8When Paul says, "sin lies dead" he does not mean that sin doesn't exist apart from the law, but that sin is inactive with it, for transgression needs something to transgress. We see this in our children, where often the rules we create to protect them and teach them end up becoming the very source of their misbehavior.
So all we can do as parents is to keep trying, and to teach our children that laws are there for a reason. We need to teach them to trust in the laws that we give them, and hopefully they will learn to trust the one from whom all justice and righteous comes.