Parenting Thought: The Obedience Factor
In nearly 12 years of ministry I have yet to encounter a parent that desires their child to disobey them. With every parent I encounter, one of their distinct desires is that their child learn to obey. To do what mom or dad asks them to do. In fact, great frustration is born from the consistent challenge of teaching our kids to obey us.
Parents, let me encourage you. Don’t give up! As difficult as it may be, don’t give up the fight to teach your kids to obey… even in the little things. Why?
Because learning to obey you is how they learn to obey God. It’s like dress rehearsal before the big production. Like practice before the big game. One day your child will be an adult. As they grow older, they learn to make decisions on their own. However, part of our role is to teach our kids how to seek & obey the will of the Father.
You see, you are the primary authority God placed in the life of your child. There is a great deal they will learn about their Heavenly Father through you. Obedience is one of them. As they grow physically, we want them to grow spiritually also. We want them to learn how to obey God in the small things as well as the big things.
Now, allow me to clarify. I’m not talking about raising kids that do whatever you say without thinking on their own. As parents, we must examine our motivations. We are responsible for making sure that we are directing our kids as God leads us. However, if you find that your child (no matter the age) struggles to obey you on a consistent basis then I encourage you… don’t give up the fight.
In fact, here are a few tips that might help.
- Make your directive clear. Depending on age, ensure that you don’t give too many directives at one time. Get on their level (eye level) and let them know what you want them to do.
- Ask for agreement. I always ask for a “Yes, ma’am.” I want acknowledgement that they heard what I said and (in turn) agree to do the task.
- Report back. This is a new one we are implementing with our 5 year old. We ask him to report back to let us know he accomplished the task. Even if it’s as simple as putting his shoes away. Reporting back to us letting us know he completed the task ensures that the directive was completed.
Now, take another minute to journey with me. Imagine the End and picture your child as a young adult. In their time with the Lord (through prayer & Bible study) they know a decision/directive God is asking them to obey. Imagine their response. After 20 years of parenting, have you taught your child that their response is “Yes, Lord”? Or have you taught your child its okay to ignore, disregard or flat out decline God’s request?
From one parent to another… let’s dive into this a little more. Let’s teach our kids the value of and the right response to obedience.