As I mentioned the other day, I’ve spent the biggest part of July working through the Busy Mamas 30 day child training boot camp. One of the biggest realizations that I’ve had has been that it is hard for me to ask for obedience to my children if I’m not modeling obedience in my life as well.
I know that if you’ve never thought about the concept that you might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Let me give you an example. It’s hard for me to insist that my children follow the speed limits when they drive if I’m unwilling to obey the speed limit myself. It becomes a case of me saying something and not really meaning it in my life.
I’ve been reading Leigh A Bortins’ The Conversation, a book which gives a picture into what a classical education might look like for a high school student. I found this quote from this book to be quite helpful in understanding the concept of modeling for your children:
If our growing children don’t respect our decisions, we must determine why. Honor is given to the parent who models the same kind of living that is expected of their children. Children are natural meters for hypocrisy. Learning to obey does not guarantee trust and respect. My adult children are the best mirror of my failings. Sometimes I want to send them away to another teacher because the reflection is so ugly.
If I am asking my children to do something that I am not, then I am a hypocrite, and even if I can force them to obey me while living in my home, I will certainly not command any honor, obedience or respect from them as they continue to grow become independent. Instead, they will model our lack of obedience and respect for others.
Deuteronomy 30:2 says:
And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all they soul.
In this verse, we can learn that we are responsible for obeying God’s voice and teaching our children to obey the Lord’s voice. This isn’t some half-hearted, I guess so obedience either. This is an obedience that is with all our hearts and all our souls.
That’s why it’s so important to immerse yourself in God’s word and in following his instruction. You want this for yourself and you want it for your children. You also want to avoid instruction that takes your or your chidlren farther away from God. Proverbs 19:27 tells us:
Cease, my son to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
If we don’t model obedience to God and to the other authorities in our children’s lives, then we will be a voice that causes our child to err from the words of knowledge and they will cease to hear us in their lives. Or worse. If they hear us, we will cause them stray from the path of following God.
So, if you expect your children to obey you, begin by obeying God. Call your children to follow you in that obedience. Live a life that your children can follow!