Saturday, November 19, 2011
First Time Obedience
When our oldest son was about 7, his teacher was having trouble keeping him on task in the classroom. Her first thought was "he must have ADD". Well, as a mom I knew better but we were having discipline problems at home as well. So, we went to a pastor at our church for advice. He was very well respected for his family and parenting wisdom.
The pastor suggested that we begin to practice "first time obedience" with our son. He went on to tell us that what that involves is expecting your child to obey your requests the first time you ask. For example, you ask your child to pick the wrapper from the granola bar up off of the floor.(I know that most children thoughtfully throw wrappers away, but you know.) When you come back 5 minutes later and it is still sitting on the floor, you need to discipline them in a way that you had previously discussed with them.
To some of you this may seem very extreme. You know what, it does seem extreme when you look at it from our cultures perspective. Take a look back in history or better yet take a look at what the Bible has to say about this. Proverbs 19:18 says, "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope;do not be a willing party to his death". Proverbs 23:13-14 says, ”Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death”. Wow! Death, that sounds extreme. Is it? Not disciplining your child will lead to them not being respectful of you or any other authority. Not being respectful of authority means teachers, the law and God. I can see how not having respect for those leaders can lead to death, even the death of your soul.
I know a lot of families have a problem with spanking "the rod". You can find other methods. Many other methods work for many children. Some will not obey under any other punishment than spanking. You and your husband have to decide beforehand, how you will discipline.
With our son, we sat down and discussed the consequences of not obeying us when we ask, the first time. It didn't take long for him to realize what was going on, and it also affected his behavior in the classroom. He needed to understand the idea that when a respected grownup in his life asks him to follow the rules he needs to follow through and obey, the first time.
When our next two children were around one year old, we started practicing first time obedience. There are a few things to keep in mind. Remember your child's age and what they are physically capable of doing. Also, be sure to lay down the rules and consequences ahead of time. Don't forget to be merciful, we don't want to be a push over but, we also don't need to lord over our children making them fearful.
Lastly and most important, seek the Lord on this issue. He loves your children and knows what they need even more than you or your husband. Here are a few more scriptures involving parenting that you can look up. Ephesians 6:2, Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 22:6. I'll be praying also for God to give you guidance.