The standard of obedience we have in our home is this: We teach our kids to obey us so they will learn to obey God. That brings obedience to a whole new level of importance.
In my search on parenting, or rather “training my kids in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6), I found that I was drawn to the subject of character. So I switched my focus to working on teaching my kids to have a godly character that would reflect obedience, honor, truthfulness, diligence, etc. rather than trying to fix minor incidences. I started gathering information on giving kids chores and how to organize these responsibilities. Chores are a wonderful time to instill character values!
I chose to teach obedience as the fundamental character trait since it lays the foundation on which the others lie. If you are a parent, you already know that correcting children is a continual necessity and it begins even before they reach toddler stage.
Our Keys of Obedience
I was inspired by a craft I found in a Character First!® booklet on obedience, and adapted it to work for a younger child. We made a keys craft that had the word obedience on one side of each laminated paper key and the other side held the four things that help them to obey properly. The following are my adaptations:
- Happy attitude
- No complaining
- Right away
- Finish all
We made a set of keys for each child (and mama, too!). The kids have these four keys memorized. I will give them a job and then have them repeat the keys of obedience. If they don’t obey with all four keys then we talk about it and fix whatever is lacking. I use Scripture and other things to enforce discipline too, but these simple things help the kids understand how to obey properly.
I gave my kids personal responsibilities when they were two and four. Every morning they are to take care of a few things:
- Make bed
- Go potty
- Get dressed
- PJ’s on bed
- Clean room
Yes, I am serious. They loved it—at first. But it’s all part of the training. We often have to review the four keys of obedience first, yet there are days they’ll come running down to my room, pop their face into my doorway and excitedly say, “Mama, I finished all my ‘sponsibilities!”
What about me? I have my own set of keys and their instructions are locked in my memory. My husband can even recite them. Then the training for my kids and God’s training for me went to the next level. I had a startling revelation one day. I realized that I was not always obeying God with a happy attitude. And sometimes I complained or delayed. Delayed obedience is not obedience at all; it’s disobedience. Other times I realized that I would start something God told me to do, but I wouldn’t be diligent to finish all of it. I’ve had to adjust my heart with these simple keys! Along the way of training my kids with a Godly character, God has been training my character!
I’ve learned a lot from putting their personal responsibilities into place. Such as, if I require my kids to make their bed, then I need to make mine. The Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me one day and let me know that I can’t expect them to be a good steward while I’m slacking. My husband and I have both made some changes. We are their first example. No, it’s not perfect by any means, but we are working toward doing the best we can.
Training our kids to walk in obedience is a daily parental job. We have to begin at the beginning some days as they have grown older but going back to the basics is worth it to see the fruit of their character blossom and thrive.
What About You
Have you ever found yourself teaching something and felt like you were learning at the same time? What was it? If you have kids, what practical things have you done to instill character in them?Training our kids to walk in obedience is a daily parental job. Click To Tweet
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