Friday, June 15, 2012

Taking Advantage of the Pre-School Years~ Part 4

Yesterday I talked about the importance of starting your children out with a strong foundation.  The pre-school years are the foundation laying years.  Every day we are setting them out on the wrong path or the right path.  I talked about how we believe obedience to be the starting place for training up children who will love the Lord with all of their heart.

When talking about obedience though, it is absolutely crucial to look at the full picture.  Around here we have a saying.  It says, "Obedience has two parts; The action and the heart."

We must teach our children to obey.  When my brother-in-law was a little boy he was walking down a path when his father yelled "Benjamin STOP!".  He stopped dead in his tracks as a rattle snake slithered across the path in front of him.  Sometimes we see in obvious ways how obedience actually saves us from death.  Even Proverbs talks about that.

Proverbs 23:13 and 14~  Do not withhold discipline from a child;  if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.  Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

Actual physical obedience not only protects our children but it makes life with your child so much more joyful.  Over and over I am astounded at the contrast.  I have a friend who thinks I hold very unfair standards for my children, but when I watch how dismayed she is chasing down her little ones and how little relationship she has with them, nothing would entice me to trade the peace and close bond I share with my girls.

But outward obedience is really only half of the coin.  Without the heart for obedience we are setting up for failure.

As a mom of little children I can speak from experience when I say, we get tired!  Our days are busy, there is always something that needs done and we long for there to be peace in the home.  So when we ask our children to do something and they storm off, stomping their feet but in action "obeying" it is all too tempting to just let in lie!  If they are doing what I said then why not just leave it alone? 

Because in reality, if I am teaching my children that it is "okay" to obey like that, I am actually teaching them that it is okay to not obey at all.  It's a lie to think that obedience with a rebellious heart is any sort of obedience.  The heart must be right for it to be real obedience.

So how do we engage the heart?  I'll get to that tomorrow!

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