Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Number One Task for a Parent of a Child Under 12

After parenting four children, all of whom are now college age or above, and after teaching in the classroom and talking with other parents and teachers I've concluded that the number one task for a parent with a child under twelve is....

to teach them to obey!

From infancy children are loved and cared for by their parents, learning to respect and trust their caregiver. In toddlerhood, children learn that mom and dad mean what they say and are consistently reminded of the boundaries. In early to middle childhood children are trained to be respectful to others and to become responsible for their work.

Unfortunately parents are too often leaving the training of their children to the schools, or to the "village" or even to the church. But the Scriptures are clear: Train up a child in the way he should go.
Solomon, in his book of Proverbs, was not talking to school teachers but parents. When teachers have to spend time teaching manners and etiquette, or to discipline children because they are not listening they are hindering the learning process for all the other children as well. A child should do exactly what the adult says WHEN the adult says it. I used to tell my children they were not obeying if they didn't respond immediately.

There was an unfortunate occasion when I dropped my daughter off for a piano lesson. As she got out of the car and went around the back of the car towards the building I saw another car pull in - headed straight for my daughter. I quickly yelled, "STOP!!" She immediately froze in place... just in time. I hate to think what would have happened if she did not respond to me so fast.

So how do you teach your child to obey? You make rules and you keep them. It's that simple. This requires that you stay tuned in to what your child is doing and where he is at all times. And it also requires a disciplinary action when children choose to not obey...and I always made it clear that obeying is their choice. That sounds weird, doesn't it? They're being forced to obey... so how is it a choice? Because a good choice is right and a bad one is wrong. It's still a choice.

When it came time for my toddler son to move into a "big boy bed" my husband and I had to camp outside of his bedroom door for a couple of nights to plop him back in bed each time he tried to climb out. He probably tried to get out twenty times. But his mom and dad put him right back in bed those twenty times. And you know what? He didn't try it ever again.

Our ultimate goal in parenting is to teach our children submit to Jesus, as their Savior. But how will they learn to submit to Christ when they haven't learned to submit to us, their parents?

So please....and now I'm speaking as a classroom teacher...teach your children to OBEY! We'd like to be able to teach content not spend so much time training behavior.

And now for a refashion...

Here is a dress that my mom made for me... about 25 years ago (yes I still have it... mom died 20 years ago and I never could part with it. But the pilgrim collar, padded shoulders, and puffy sleeves from the 80s just have to go!

So I cut off the collar, the sleeves, and believe it or not, I took off about 6 inches from the bottom. I just added eyelet lace to replace the collar and walah!

So fun! ---Blessings!