Obedience Is a Two-Way Street


The cause-and-effect connection between the leadership of a parent and the dutiful obedience of a child is significant.

The sixth chapter of the letter to the Ephesians, contains two sides to the biblical equation

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” - which is the first commandment with a promise - “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy a long life on the earth. And you fathers do not provoke you children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:1-4).

The cause-and-effect connection between the leadership of a parent and the duty of a child to obey is significant. Every parent’s prayer for their child is that they would enjoy a long life and that it would go well with them. Aiding them in fulfillment of that prayer means helping them develop the capability for obedience, first in their relationship to you and then to God.

Pause and Reflect: Here is an Obedience "Up To Now” True or False Quiz: Put a "T" for True or an "F" for False next to each of the following statements based on how you have been making obedience as easy as it can be or more difficult than it needs to be. Use the results for some “From Now On” thinking and prayers.

Ways to nurture obedience:

  • I establish a limited number of reasonable, age appropriate rules about things that matter___
  • I explain the reason why and test for understanding___
  • I deliver praise and consequences in a timely and specific manner ___
  • I praise progress ___
  • I actively seek to catch my kids doing things right ___

Ways to make obedience more difficult than it needs to be:

  • I make obedience optional ___
  • I am willing to negotiate with them for lower standards of behavior to avoid a hassle___
  • I look the other way and ignore disobedience when it is too inconvenient to address __
  • I delay delivering appropriate consequences ____
  • I am inconsistent in applying standards of acceptable behavior ____
  • I model misbehavior-Matching anger with anger___
  • I issue idle threats __
  • I am inconsistent my responses and delivering promised consequences ___
  • Being unclear what obedience will look like ___
  • Demanding perfection before recognizing progress ___
  • Failing to test for understanding about what it is that I require ___
  • Too many rules ___
  • Too many variations in consequences between children ___
  • Rewarding bad behavior by giving increased attention ___

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