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Love and Parenting: Teach them tools so they may govern themselves

What is the purpose of obedience? Who is obedience for? As a young mother this was not a conversation anyone ever had with fact, when it came to parenting there were very few conversations. For the most part I felt like I was winging parenting. I wouldn’t say that I was doing a very good job either. My first child was curious, smart, tender hearted and very strong willed. I felt like I was absolutely failing her. I went to parenting classes and read parenting books. I was determined to fill my toolbox with tools that helped me to mature her, not break her. I made a ton of mistakes and learned from those as well. Parenting, like anything else is a journey. I believe that understanding your journey starts with understanding the intention behind what you are doing. 

That being said, “What is the purpose of obedience in your home”? Do you want your children to be obedient so that they stay out of your hair, or so that you are not embarrassed in public?  Who do you think obedience is for? Do you need your children to be obedient so that you can live a more peaceful life with less conflict? I think these are important questions. I cannot tell you how many times I remember asking “But, why?” as a child or how many times I heard the famous “because I said so,” line in response to my question. Even now as an adult, I can tell you that response did not serve me. 

Yes, children need to obey the first time and yes, many times it is for their own safety. However, if we can take the time to explain why certain aspects of our child’s behavior is not beneficial for them or those around them, we may not have to correct them for the same behavior repeatedly. 

I tell my children that their family is the proving ground for the rest of their lives. They are learning about interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, boundaries, empathy, trust and many other very important things. When they are older, we discuss how obedience is about knowing when to submit to authority and that if they never heed their parents’ voice, it will be very difficult for them to heed the voice of God. 

Mistakes are not the end of the world in our home since some of our greatest lessons are learned through out greatest failures. We are a home of tolerance, but we are also a home of consequences. We meet failures with grace and when necessary, consequences. 

In our home obedience is not for the parents’ benefit although it does benefit the parents.  Obedience is for the child who needs to learn to be teachable throughout their own life.  Obedience is for the success of our children when they have become adults. Obedience when taught through love and not fear teaches our children to weigh their behavior, understand their power to choose and accept responsibility for the outcome. 

Our children need to learn self-control through their parents’ instruction, and not suppression through meeting the demands without gaining understanding.


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“Love is a journey not a destination.”

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