I wish I had done a better job when my children were younger about obedience training. I had to be gone a lot in their very small days and some of their caregivers did not find this as important as I did and still do. I am not blaming those caregivers because ultimately I am the one responsible for my children as their mother. So regardless of the reason for their lack of proper obedience training the buck stops with me. It is my job to train the disobedience out of them. The first thing that needs to happen in this process is that a definition for obedience needed to be established. I define obedience as doing the right thing, with the right attitude even when no one is watching because those things are the right things to do. I want Caleb and Simeon to understand that first of all God is a God of grace and forgiveness, but to balance that with God is always watching so they can't just get away with something. As I keep those things in mind I have let them know that to be obedient means they follow the instructions from Vic and I right then-- not later. If they are in the middle of something they can politely ask if they can finish that thing. Depending on the circumstances we will either say yes or no. The obedience must be handled in a way that is respectful to Vic and I. If they obey, but say something like. "That's not fair." or "That's your job" or "Why do I have to tidy up my room every day." then he is being disrespectful which is disobedience. I like to use chores and such as a time to instill gratefulness. We talk about how great it is that God made provision for the toys to pick up or the clothes to fold, etc. They also must continue following my instructions when I leave the room. If I can not trust them to continue cleaning their room while I clean the bathroom for example then that is disobedience. We also have three character traits that we are focusing on at the moment so the instructions must be followed attentively, faithfully, and diligently.
Some have told me I am too strict. Others have told me I am not strict enough. However, in reality as parents we need to prepare our children for life. If Caleb were to tell his boss at work, "It is not fair that you asked me to do this." or if he only worked when the boss was watching then he would not keep his job very long. What if Simeon said no to the Lord when the Lord was leading him to do something? It would bring curses into his life instead of blessings. Obedience is a key to following the Lord. The Lord requires obedience of us. So if I do not lay a foundation of obedience in my children now then I am setting them up for a much more difficult life in the future. I want my children to live out every dream the Lord has for them because I believe that Jeremiah 29:11 is just as true for them as it is for me. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Obedience is the beginning of loving the Lord and living the awesome life He has planned for you, for me, and for my children.