A few weeks ago, I got to speak at our church's baby and child dedication. I must say it was the most challenging audience I have ever spoken to because of all the young children in the room. In fact, about midway through, I paused and said, "Hey, don't anybody worry. I am really good at talking over crying children. I do it every day." Needless to say, while it was the cutest audience ever, it was not the most attentive.
So, in one part of my message, I shared the best parenting advice I had ever heard, and I thought I would pass it along here… Several months ago I was listening to a sermon series by Voddie Baucham on the family (and Marybeth, if you are reading this, I still plan on returning your set. Apologies:)) and he said something that has really stuck with me. Here's the gist of he said…
During the first five years of your child's life, your primary objective as the parent is to teach them to do what you tell them to do, when you tell them to do it with a good attitude. In short, to obey all the way. He said that if your children do not learn to obey you, their parents, they will never be able to listen and obey God.
This is so simply put but when you carry this out day to day, it can get pretty hard. Its comforting to know that the most important thing I teach my children is not how to read before they go to kindergarten or how to identify every species of dinosaur before age 2.5. Its also not to teach them to recite the confessions of our faith and the corresponding scripture.
The simple truth of obedience: Mommy and Daddy are in charge, not you (no matter how cute you are when you "no"). When I remember that that's the most important thing I teach them, its easier to be consistent.
How does this look in our house right now?
For Graham (age 2), it seems like every time I ask him to come lay down to get his diaper changed he gives me this super cute, evil grin and backs away from me. I have to be consistent with the consequences of not obeying, even for something so seemingly small.
For Elijah (age 4), we are working on the attitude part. Its hard to correct this one when technically he did obey. But all throughout scripture we find God's true concern for the heart. As Elijah's mom, I have to teach him that this is not acceptable.
I am preaching to myself. No super-mom here. Just a woman who wants to raise world changers and who knows that it all starts with the small things.