Understanding Obedience

We live in a society where an emphasis on teaching obedience sounds to some like heavy-handed authoritarianism. Parents don't want to be dictators so they sometimes move far away from anything that looks like being controlling. This is unfortunate since God is the one who gave the instructions for children to learn obedience. Hidden within this quality are the principles that will make children successful as they get older.

When children learn to obey they learn to give up their own agenda for someone else. They learn to listen to an instruction and follow through with it. They learn how to be responsible, check back, and complete a task. In short, when children learn obedience, they not only make family life easier but they also develop the character that will make them more valuable in the work place, the community, and the world. In fact, learning to obey parents teaches kids what they need in order to obey God.

We say that obedience is "doing what someone says, right away, without being reminded." Children as young as three years old can memorize this simple definition and understand what it means. Parents sometimes think that obedience is the same as compliance. When a parent says, "I can get my children to obey eventually," that's not obedience. Compliance is only part of obedience. When you say to your son, "It is time to go to bed now," and he says, "As soon as I'm done with this game," that's not obedience; it's an excuse for disobedience.

As parents, it's okay to negotiate and compromise with our children sometimes, but too often children aren't mature enough for this. In fact, they are demanding, unable to give up their agenda for someone else. Cooperation requires that both people give and take. In order to get to that stage, children must first learn how to sacrifice or follow. Once they learn that, true cooperation can take place.

Teach obedience and you will give your children a valuable gift that will be used for the rest of their lives.

How have you seen teaching obedience to be helpful in your family?
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Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Great post! I'm not sure if we read this somewhere or just formed it along the way, but the way we've defined obedience to our children is: "Doing what my authority says on the first time with a happy heart." It has worked well for us because it captures both behavior ("doing") and attitude ("happy heart"). Once they "get" this with US, we're able to relate its application to other authority figures (God, teachers, grandparents, etc.).

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  3. Hi Wendy, thank you for your encouragement.

    And I really like what the Zufall family says about obedience. Great stuff!

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  4. Great post! Thanks so much for this tip. We have a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old that struggle with complaining each time they are asked to do something. This will be something great for them to memorize.

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  5. I've been thinking about this post ever since it arrived in my inbox a few days ago. With a 17-month old in our house obedience is a relatively new concept but one that we know will become more important in the near future. Thanks for succinctly and clearly capturing the essence of why obedience matters. It's about honoring God and parents, but it's also about forming a child's character in ways that will benefit her for the rest of her life!

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  6. Well said! Obedience is just one of he many things children learn as they are growing up. May God richly bless you and your family as you grow together. --Scott Turansky.

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  7. We're actually having problems with obedience in our family. Especially with our 5 1/2 yr old. When told to do something she often ignores it outright, or will just look at you making no move to comply (not defiantly, just blankly) with no intent to obey. She's very bright (taught herself how to read & write around age 4, now reads about 3rd grade level). Her 2 older sisters do the compliance thing (we need to work more on immediate obedience). Even her 2 1/2 yr old sister sometimes does better on the obedience. (My hardest thing is following-up on & being consistent with all 4 - *sigh*)
    This relates to honor which I've been trying to instill in everyone (not much success yet), and have been defining as "right away, all the way & with a happy heart." They've got that def'n memorized, so I don't think I'll try a new one (altho I like the part about not being reminded!!), but they're not *doing* it yet.

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