Delayed Obedience: What’s the Matter with Children?
By Amy Gentry
Adrian Rogers once said, “We train our dogs and don’t train our kids. Then we tie up the dog at night and let the kids run wild.” Can I just talk straight with you today? I have been trying to figure out why my son was struggling with the concept of immediate obedience. That is code for ‘he was not listening to me.’ From polling my friends and working in a preschool, I know that I am not alone in this struggle. What’s the matter with children? Why don’t they follow directions when I ask?
I give my children soooo many warnings so there is no longer motivation to listen when they are told something.
A typical conversation with my child looks like this:Me: “Pick up your shoes in the hallway.”
My kid: “OK.” (but they continue watching tv)
Me: “Now, or ….(insert threat here)…!”
My kid: “Yes, mom.” (then they get up and go)
Ephesians 6:1-3 MSG “Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”
My revelation: By giving them a warning before they get a consequence for their delayed obedience, I AM GIVING THEM PERMISSION TO DISOBEY ME ONCE BEFORE HE GETS IN TROUBLE. Did you hear that? I am giving them permission to disobey me. I might as well plan on asking him everything twice from now on.
My solution: There are some absolutes as well as some exceptions.
ABSOLUTES: You may never hurt someone or call names, you show respect, and follow all requests given by mom and dad…. For these things there should not be warnings. (P.S. these rules cover a lot of ground)
EXCEPTIONS: everything else.
CHALLENGE: Practice it. Mean what you say. Make a request of your child and if they do not obey immediately give them a consequence. Just take baby steps, give yourself grace to try again tomorrow.