21 Sep Obedience
Obedience. Definitely, a word that stirs up a lot of different reactions. Nowadays obedience is not necessarily seen in a positive light. People see it as a lack of freedom, inability to be in control, stifling etc. Yet it is a virtue (a good habit to be joyfully lived) and necessary for the maturity of an individual. We all need to learn to follow the rules in the game of life – whether it’s to pay our bills on time, to park in the proper areas, to stop at red lights, drive on the correct side of the road or work in order to get paid. We all need to follow the instructions of others, whether they be teachers, driving instructors, bosses or the tax man. Knowing how to obey or comply with what’s demanded is a life skill necessary to grow up, be responsible and think of others. It begins in the home and it begins with your son or daughter following your directions. Neglect in teaching this virtue will cause serious consequences in the future.
- Teaches docility – we allow someone else who knows more and has more experience to guide us.
- Teaches humility – helps us realize we don’t know everything and someone else can better direct us at times.
- If not taught young, it becomes much more difficult to learn when older.
- Helps us to learn to listen to others.
- Helps us to develop self-discipline and self-control.
- Allows us to be in a better position to learn – at home, at school, at work etc.
- Helps us gain a much better understanding of right and wrong.
- Helps us overcome our own egoism, comfort-seeking etc. and stretches us to become better individuals more aware of the needs of others.
- Helps us gain a respect for others, people in authority etc.
- Helps us learn to get along with others, be a team player and strive to further the common good of others
- Makes us a conscientious citizen.
Parents have little preparation for parenting. Their infant who is so easy going and “angelic” all of a sudden becomes wild in the terrible two’s and parents are lost what to do. Often the tendency is to come down hard and punish the child for what is not appropriate. Unfortunately, the child does not know the rules and parents become run down trying to “fix everything”. Small children are not often willfully disobedient – just exploring, experimenting and testing their capacities and the rules. Parents need to realize what is age appropriate, normal, expected behavior and how to deal with events without going overboard. We have so little training and we cannot be led by emotions. We need advice. We can learn so much from successful parents who are one step ahead of us. There is also great literature out there offering a wealth of ideas. Find time to read some of it.
Parents need to develop ideas on how to deal with obedience and disobedience that motivates children to love what is good and minimize the negative. Like everything important in life, make a plan to achieve better behavior. There are some good resources below to check out. No child can be a little adult, and no one is perfect. Have few battles, and only on really important issues. Be willing to overlook a lot and have patience. The results may be long in coming, but well worth the wait. In the meantime lean a lot on God for the strength to keep going. He gave you your kids, and He’ll see you through until the end. Don’t give up hope.
Some Great Reads on this Topic:
- Michele Borba, Don’t Give Me That Attitude (hands down, best book I’ve ever seen on this topic)
- Art and Laraine Bennett, The Temperament God Gave You
- Gary Chapman, Five Love Languages of Children
- James Dobson, The New Strong-Willed Child
- Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
- Ron Moorish, Secrets of Discipline
- Thomas W. Phelan, 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12
- Gary Smalley, Key to the Child’s Heart