Disclaimer: If you’ve got perfectly obedient children who instantly do what you say the very first time you give an instruction every single time, this post isn’t for you J In fact, send me a note and I’d love to have you guest post on this blog!
Most of our children struggle with obedience. Even though most of us parents work tirelessly to teach it to them. There is just something about our sinful natures as humans that has the natural tendency to rebel against what we are told to do.The truth is that the better our children learn to obey us, the better they will obey God. Click To Tweet
The more our little ones respect our authority, the more they will respect all levels of authority in their lifetimes, from teachers, to church leaders, to the law of the land, and ultimately to God!
There really aren’t many greater and more important tasks than teaching our children this crucial reaction. Not only will it benefit them so much throughout their future, but it will make our lives as parents so.much.easier.
Children, obey your parents in everything,
for this pleases the Lord.
If you take a scalpel and dissect the body of obedience, I believe you will find 3 aspects of obedience you can expect from children:
“Slow obedience is No obedience,” I once heard someone say. That really stuck with me. If your child is not obeying your instruction straight away, they are in effect choosing their own authority over yours. They are saying, “I want to do what I want to do first, and then when I’m done with that, I’ll do what you want in my own good timing.”
Now, hear me. I’m not saying that we should be dictators as parents. We should never ever take advantage of our position as having authority over our children. Our children can always appeal our instruction in a respectful manner. So if a child is in the middle of their math homework, and you ask them to set the table for dinner, they may say, “Mom, I’m just finishing up this page of math sums. Would you mind if I set the table right after in about 15 minutes?”
Then sure! By all means. They clearly desire to obey and are appealing for us to consider the urgency of the task. This will always give a child an ‘out’ if they indeed can’t or would prefer to delay the order. However, if they aren’t doing anything particularly taxing and don’t appeal, they do need to honour us as parents and obey.
A catchy little phrase that parents of younger children can use is, “Straight away, obey!”
God expects immediate obedience too, and His standards are
the example we are trying to set in our children’s minds.
All The Way
The next requirement in obedience, once the sweet child has obeyed straight away, is to do so all the way. By this, I am referring to completing the job from start to finish. If little Johnny has instantly obeyed my instruction to put the clothes on the floor of his room away (to my dismay! :-)) but picked up 5 items and has left the other 25, that is not complete obedience.
For obedience to be whole and acceptable to God (and you as a parent) the child has to complete the entire job. Of course, it is our duty as a loving parent not to exasperate our children (Ephesians 6:4), and to give age appropriate tasks – but considering our summons has been fair, the child needs to obey ‘all the way.’
In A Cheerful Way
Last, but not least, is for obedience to be executed in a cheerful way. Think about it, you’ve given sweet Sarah the word to wash the dishes after dinner. She straight away gets up but complains every step of the way to the kitchen where she practically throws the dishes angrily into the dishwasher. Sure, she completes the chore, but attitudes are a flyin’ and she is making it a point of making her misery known far and wide around the home!
So, while Sarah has ticked two out three boxes, she may as well not have. If she isn’t doing it in a cheerful way, she ain’t doing it at all. Remember, friend, that…God is most concerned with the heart of your child. Click To Tweet
And any lack of cheerfully executing the instruction is outward obedience with a heart kicking and screaming rebelliously against it’s authority.
The thing is my friend, we often think of obedience as something only children need to do. Once we’ve graduated into adulthood, we believe, we no longer need to obey our parents. Romans 1:28-32 lists a long list of sins against the Lord.
This list of sins is not aimed at children at all in this context, but is an array of misdemeanors that adults do. Among the list was “disobedient to parents…”
Obedience to parents, authorities, and ultimately God, is an action that should signify all of our lives, irrespective of our age.
It is both our duty and privilege to train our children to adhere to this great, yet basic tenet of our faith, and to set them up for a life of reaping the rewards of following it. Whether we do this by example or educating let us be faithful in this way.
How are you doing in training your children to obey? Do you have any other “catchy” phrases or tips that you use that may help others?