“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
This might seem like an overwhelming task…asking your child to do something without grumbling…but with the right amount of love and coaching, the reward will be well worth the labor!
Let’s talk about WHY we want to train our children to complete tasks without complaining. First of all, we are called to diligently watch over our children’s hearts. That’s part of the responsibility that comes with parenting. Proverbs 4:23 tells us that all of the issues of life flow from the heart. So our reactions (and our children’s reactions), good or bad, come from the state of our heart. Our children desperately need us to pursue and instill (and even model) that which is good and true.
Secondly, by training up our children to find joy in daily tasks, we are cultivating a heart that truly loves the standard or expectation. Obedience doesn’t have to be forceful but can be a delightful experience for both parent and child. It’s the follow through (consistency or lack of) that will make or break the deal.
Lastly, the simplicity found in joyful obedience prepares tiny hearts for obeying God. You might not see it now with your little one, but someday all of the time invested in carefully guarding your child’s heart will have set them on a path where they will find joy in obeying God.
CALL TO ACTION
One of the parenting tips we received when our children were young was to instill a concept of “Obey right away, all the way, and joyfully every day.” This may seem like an outdated and “stuffy” approach. However, the beauty behind this was that the hard work of training, and yes, it can be hard work to consistently carry this out (especially when you have multiple children), blossomed into a lifelong blessing. Our teenage children don’t carry out a task (like mowing the yard or unloading the dishwasher) because they fear the consequences but because we took the time to cultivate a spirit of obedience, a spirit of loving the standard, of knowing the WHY behind the task.
Let’s face it. Cultivating our children’s heart for obedience won’t only affect them! As we strive to understand what obedience looks like as parents, we will be reminded of how our Heavenly Father looks upon our own obedience (and even disobedience). Are we, as adults, loving His Standard enough to do His will without grumbling?