I had a friend once who said that he did not always feel an obligation to explain his instructions to his children. “Sometimes, when they ask why I’ll tell them why. But I want them to obey promptly whether they understand my reasons or not. When a little kid is playing in the street and there’s a truck coming at him, there’s no time for an explanation. His daddy needs to tell him to get out of the street, and he needs to obey. Quick.”
Here’s a project you can do with your kids to help them become “obedience-conscious.” It’s sort of a game, but it’s a good way to prime your kids to think in terms of obeying, as we like to say, “immediately, cheerfully and thoroughly.”
“… A great story to illustrate to your children how obedience may be hard for the moment, but will lead to greater good in the end.” ~Rick
If you’ve ever seen the wonderful 1941 movie, Sergeant York you’re already acquainted with the story of the Tennessee mountaineer, a hard-drinking, brawling, straight-shooting country boy who became the most famous American hero of World War I.
Everybody wants obedient kids. Let’s face it, there’s nothing much worse than having to constantly be nagging, reminding or punishing just to get the household work done and have a peaceful, orderly home.
Problem: often we’re so busy coping with disobedience that we forget to teach our children exactly what obedience is. Most parents train their children as they train their dogs. That is, wait until the kid does something wrong, then snarl at him for it. Sometimes the kid knew he was doing wrong. Other times, it was just childish poor judgment. In either case, snarling won’t give you the results you want.
What snarling will do for you is to produce children who have wounded hearts and resentments toward you. Walls will come up between you and your child that weren’t there before. By the time he’s a teenager, you’ll find that you two don’t have a lot to talk about—if he’s not in open rebellion.
It’s strange that we so often don’t realize that children need to be trained. It’s easy to bark orders and then snarl if they’re not obeyed satisfactorily. But we’ve found that we can avoid a lot of that if we put out the effort to let them know what it is we’re looking for in their behavior- what we want and what we don’t. In other words, teach them what is right behavior and what is not, and reward the right and correct the wrong. (You’ll find some wonderful stories you can use to teach this to your younger children in Crossroads of Character)
Sounds simple, but it takes some work. Still, training works better than snarling every time. What are you doing to teach your child how to please you?
You might like: Obedience from the Heart- available as a Download, CD or DVD