In our last couple of articles, we spoke about training children to respond immediately with a cheerful spirit. First-time obedience is a principle I have practiced for sometime and it has worked well for my family. The sooner and younger you begin, the easier it is when they are older.
However, as mothers we need to understand and remember that our children as well as the rest of us are sinners. We live in a fallen world and our children need as much grace as we do.
In our efforts to train, teach, and mold our children into respectful and obedient human beings, it is common to exasperate our children unknowingly.
Exasperate: to annoy, to anger, to bug, to embitter.
Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master."
As we train and teach our children, we need so much Wisdom to do it right. Our children will disobey, but love and a firm understanding of God's word regarding obeying parents, the blessings of obedience, the consequences of disobedience, the role of parents, and the role of children will help us in our efforts.
Stories and examples help illustrate a point, so let me share what I mean by parents needing wisdom:
I called my youngest son to dinner one night, but he wasn't responding. I quickly grew impatient when my husband came to assess the situation. My husband called me over and together we watched my boy completely engrossed in his playing. We called him again and no response. My son was about 3 years old.
My husband bent down to his level and tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Son, it's time for dinner." "Okay, daddy. I'm hungry." He jumped up and came immediately. Clearly, there was no defiance or rebellion in his heart. To correct him in this situation would have been wrong.
My husband reminded me that as a boy he would get so engrossed in his playing that he didn't hear his mother or father calling and that I needed to use a more creative approach to help my son hear me.
I decided to use a simple bell when calling our children to breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Something about bells and timers help my children respond quickly, so I use them. If you ever visit my home, it might just sound like a symphony.
I also make sure that I get down on their level if they are under the age of 6; meaning I bend down and make sure I have their complete attention when speaking to them.