Obedient Children

The title says it all. Any parent longs for this more than most other things. And if obedience comes with joy, it’s much sweeter to the parent’s soul. It gets even better when the child takes responsibility and initiative to obey without being asked. 

My children are getting of the age when they begin to ask questions as to why they have to do what they’ve been asked. It takes time to explain my reasons, but I’d prefer they’d simply trust and obey. After all, isn’t that kind of what we’re supposed to do with God? Just trust Him and obey? But an issue arises within our children when an explanation is avoided. They get discouraged and fail to understand our parenting.

One of the most important things to me is making sure my children know and love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Sometimes it’s hard to take the time to teach them how to do it. And most of the time I feel I fail at the job of being a father. My intentions are good and the motivation on my end is clear, but it’s not always that clear to them. I tell them to wait on me, but when they tell me to wait on them, I get frustrated. My idea of a level balance of judgment seems like daddy makes the rules and their opinion doesn’t count. Well, if they’re taught that their opinion doesn’t count in some of these issues, are they going to look to me for love and advice later on when they’re teenagers?

I’m reading a few books along with my individual Bible study I’d like to recommend to you. They’ve already changed my perspective in relationships with my family, friends, and acquaintances. 

“The Resolution For Men” book is something I’m very excited about. It’s written by Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick, Randy C. Alcorn. I’ve only just begun reading and already it has captured my attention and challenged me to become the father and husband God has always intended me to be, to fulfill my role as leader in the home. I’m hoping to eventually lead this or suggest this book as a Summer Bible Study for the men in our church. The lack of a father figure in the home can lead the children in the home to a dangerous and destructive way of life. Understanding what my role and God’s purpose for me is crucial in knowing how to train my children in the way they should go so that when they’re old they won’t depart from it. 

After reading the first chapter, which was a little hard to get into, my life changed. This book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has helped me understand people, why I don’t like some and like others, and even the topic of this post. I want desperately to communicate effectively with my children, to inspire and challenge them to go farther and grow in maturity and what they’re passionate about. The examples he gives in business is important too, but the illustrations on parenting impacts me even more. I’m not done with it yet, but if there was another helpful book (besides the Bible) I’d recommend to anyone on how to truly interact with volunteers, co-workers, bosses, and family, this is the book.

All in all, these are supplements to help with the understand of the Scriptures I’ve read today. They’ll never take the place of the wisdom of God directly from His Word, but they do help me understand it in a very practical way. This is the passage for today:

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. –Colossians 3:20-21

The truth is obedience begins with us. My children will not respect me if I don’t respect them. I could easily force them to do anything I want them to. I’m bigger, stronger, and have the final say anyway. But what I long from them is love and respect, not fear. So I must lead by example.

I remember in my childhood wanting to know the “why.” Is it any different for my children? Enforcing my rules or ideology upon them in an authoritative way such as, “It’s my way or the highway” won’t encourage them to love me. It will discourage them, embitter them toward me, and will eventually encourage them to respond negatively toward me in the future.

Please understand, I’m not suggesting discipline isn’t important. What I am saying is that if I’m disciplining because their behavior is an inconvenience for me, it’s the wrong reason. Children are precious and must be nurtured. It takes time. So raising them should never be an inconvenience.

Ultimately, the reality sets in that their view of God comes from how they view me. If I’m harsh toward them, hearing that God is their Father isn’t going to bring comfort. If I’m patient with them, it will.

Let me encourage you to consider how you are raising your children and how you can change to show them the love you really have for them. Pick up one of these books and grow. Nothing comes natural other than selfishness and change takes work. Be revolutionary in your life and take initiative to overcome the past and intentionally direct the future toward all that God has in store for you.

What are your thoughts?