Thursday, September 6, 2012

Simplifying Parenthood

At times parenting came seem so mind-boggling and confusing. There are a million different parenting philosophies, each with a book and some scientific research to make it sound convincing. With all of this conflicting advice, it's no wonder that many parents feel discouraged and defeated.

We like it simple around here, so in the Wood household, our kids only have two rules. Caedmon can spout them off whenever we ask and Sammy, well, he's workin' on it...

If you ask Caedmon, "What are the two things that you are responsible for as a child?" he will say, "Honor & Obey." How's that for keeping it simple? Two rules. Two words. All-inclusive. Straight from the Bible.

Honor your father and mother. Exodus 20:12

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

The working out of those two rules takes a lot of training, a lot of patience, and a lot of conversations. But if honoring and obeying their parents becomes the rhythm of their lives then, according to God, their childhood has been a huge success!

What does it look like practically? (please note, we do not always achieve this standard but it is what is expected and it's what we shoot for.)

  • When I call one of the kids, he should respond with, "Yes, ma'm?" instead of "What?"
  • When I give an instruction, the first words out of his mouth should be, "Yes, ma'm." If he would like to ask "Why?" or make an appeal he may do so after he has said "Yes, ma'm" and is already beginning to obey.
  • Honor/Respect includes the child's attitude. So we address haughty hearts, stomping feet, slamming doors, grumpy faces, and tone of voice. 
  • Obedience is to occur immediately after the instruction is given. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
The single-most important lesson that a child needs to learn from 0-5 years old is that he/she is under authority. 

The reality is that we are all under some form of authority for our entire lives. Students are under the authority of teachers. Employees are under employers. CEO's are under the authority of the Board of Directors. Citizens are under the authority of the government. Wives are under the authority of our husbands. And we are all under the authority of God. If the question of authority is established early in their minds, children will thrive within the boundaries established for them instead of always trying to buck the authority over them.

Even within the church, it is common to see adults with major authority issues. They have such a hard time submitting to the vision and leadership of the pastors and try to vie for control. 

Authority struggles can be a life-long battle, but they don't have to be. We can give them a huge gift as their parents to teach them how to respond to authority when they are young. 

The word "authority" reads so a cruel task-master standing over you with a whip. But that's not the type of authority that God is, and it's not the type of authority that we should be for our children. As parents, we are the tender-hearted, grace-giving, cheerleading, wisdom-imparting, love-lavishing, joke-telling, benevolent authority that train our children in the way they should go. 

Administration of authority should be gentle, but there should be no question in anyone's mind who is in charge.

We train them to honor & obey because we know that that is how life works best. The Bible attaches a promise to that commandment for children to "honor your father and mother..." 

" that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

What a joy it is for any parent to see things "go well" for their child! It all starts with us teaching them to honor and obey.

1 comment:

Jane in TX said...

Very well said, Stacie!