Chain of Command


Officer or enlisted, everybody knows there’s a chain of command in the military. It’s one of the things that makes the military work. But what about the family? Should a military chain of command be imposed on the family? What about family discipline and structure? Does God’s Word have anything to say about this?


“Mary Poppins” is an amazing Disney movie about the Banks family and the ordered lives they lead in London. Everything in its place and a place for everything! Mr. Banks is, in fact, a banker, and he prides himself in running a “tight ship” as the ruler of his personal domain. While not a military family, you might swear that their structure resembled one. The chain of command is clearly delineated and followed, that is until the old nanny quits and they need to find a new nanny.

Watch this song by Mr. Banks called “The Life I Lead” to get a feel of how his chain of command works:

As the dictated advertisement is mysteriously collected by a magical nanny named Mary Poppins, things around the Banks household begin to change…a lot! When Mary Poppins shows up, the children are astounded by her powers, then begin to respond not only to her amazing stunts but to her heart and her love as well. She brings a sense of life to a very structured world, and Mr. Banks resists this change at every turn. Culminating in an embarrassment at his bank, Mr. Banks feels completely undone.

On of the major themes in this story is not about a disruptive nanny as much as it is about a family who discovers how to be a family and acquire some shared values that acknowledge each person for the part they play in the whole family. The final scene shows this transformation from a family who hardly knew each other to a family who is learning to play and be and love each other. So, it’s time for Mary Poppins to go.

Check out the final scenes from the story.

What they learn as a family is simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


Bible intro

Let’s see what God says about the establishment of order and respect and obedience within a family. What elements of a chain of command do you see in his description?

Personal Questions
1. Why do you think children are told to obey their parents? How do you respond if your parents tell you to do something that you don’t want to do?
2. If you’ve seen the movie, how do you think the children in ‘Mary Poppins’ obeyed and disobeyed their parents? From what you know, how would you rate the Banks family in accordance with some of the Scriptures above?
3. Closely read the passage above from 1 Corinthians 13. How is love displayed/not displayed in your family? What are some of the qualities of love that you realize you need to work on as you relate to your family/friends/neighbors/teachers/etc.?

Father, I thank you for blessing me with my family. I ask you to bring us into unity through you. I ask that anything that is hidden in darkness - to cause disunity - will be brought to light. I ask you to lead us into your perfect truth and help us to be the family you intend us to be. Lord, help us to be a blessing to one another and to others. Reveal yourself to us and let us come into agreement with you. Lead us in your ways. Grant us compassionate hearts, fill us with your love that does not keep records of wrong, and bring joy to our hearts when we think of one another. Bring your perfect peace and unity into our family. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Take the time to memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  
4Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud;5love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

Instead of asking “What would Jesus do?”, ask yourself “What would love do?” Practice this memorized verse in your life, especially when dealing with people you find difficult.


Here are a few quizzes you can take online. (Quizzes are located off the American Bible Society website and we are not responsible for content beyond the quiz cited.)

** There are some other quizzes that your parents can take to find out about themselves as well. Try to get them to take them and share the results of what you all have found.

  1. This is a story of someone who realized that he had to take responsibility for his own actions.  |  Read Now »
  2. This is a great story of the marriage between Christ and His church.  |  Read Now »

Chain of Command - 1

Chain of Command - 2

Chain of Command - 3

Chain of Command - 4

Chain of Command - 5


Colossians 3:18-21

1 Peter 3:7-9

1 Corinthians 13

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Life Questions
1. There is a lot of stress in today’s military families, and stress can bring angry words quicker and more frequently than normal. What does it mean in Ephesians 6:4 where it says “…Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry?” What should your response be if your parents do make you angry? Identify someone (preferably an adult) you could you talk to about this.  Email them and set up a time to meet.
2. Do you believe the passage from Ephesians has more to do with chain of command or mutual respect? Why? Write down three very real ways that you can show respect for your parents even when you disagree with them. Now tape that list to your mirror for a week so you’ll remember how you want to respond.
3. What are some of the qualities of how your parents run their family that you would like to emulate when you have your own family? Why? What are some of the qualities of how your parents run their family that you would change when you have your own family? Why?
Audio archive URL
  1. Draw a rough picture of the chain of command or power structure of your family.
  2. Where do you fit in?
  3. If you were absolutely in charge of your family for one day, what are the things that you would change? Why?