From a lot of different resources, books and professors I've been confronted with the idea of "first time obedience". Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp has one of the easiest, memorable definitions of obedience
Without Delay" (pg 138)
Or like we like to say at our house, "We need to obey: right away, all the way and with a happy heart." My two oldest can repeat it to you. And when we discipline we usually include how their actions or attitudes were not the "correct way to obey Mommy and Daddy".
As I said earlier this week.... it's been a tough couple of weeks as we get into a "schooling schedule" and continue to shape our children's hearts!! But after a situation from this last weekend, I had even more motivation to continue our struggle to train, discipline and guide our children!!
This was my motivation:
I walk to the PO with my two older kiddies on their bikes and my little Lydia in the stroller. I can push the stroller and guide the older ones along the sidewalks but when we're walking on the shoulder of the highway.... I've had to train them to walk on one side of me, between the curb and the stroller! They have had to mind me.....
Two weeks ago on our walk I called out to Chris, who had gotten further than I liked. I shouted "stop!" to him but he was determined to go as faast as he could and he didn't listen.... even heading into the road without me NEXT to him..... ohhhhh... thank goodness our town is pretty quiet on the side streets before lunch!!
Well last week I had all three kids at the PO and we were getting back on our bikes. Christopher loves the handicap ramp and so he will often ride up and down while he waits for me...and usually there are no cars around and PLENTY of room:) But on this afternoon, there were a couple of cars parked in front and driving around.
I saw Christopher getting ready to go down the ramp and a car coming to us about to pull into the spot that Christopher would be turning into....
He must have heard the urgency in my voice.... but I immediately called out "stop, chris!" And he did. He immediately braked (his bike) and stayed completely still only turning his body to see me. But by then I had my hands on his bike!!!
I don't even want to imagine what could have happened, had he not obeyed, according to the obedience definition (right away, all the way and with a happy heart)!!
So "first time obedience" is important for safety and it allows our kids to demonstrate that they are willing to obey (displays their hearts).
But it's also for sanity.... how many times are you going to ask your child to stop yelling before you are yelling at them or you loose your patience? I think it helps me correct and discipline without getting frustrated or angry and disciplining wrongly!! And oohhhh... that is my heart's desire... to lovingly correct my children's wrong behavior (like the Lord does for us), guide them to make good choices, and keep them safe!!
OK???? Are my kids doing this consistently..... NO!! I wish they would obey the first time I asked ALL the time.... but that is the "season of training" that my family is in right now!!
Lord, help me everyday to be the mother that You desire me to be. Thank You for my three sweet little blessings. Help me to correct them and guide them correctly! Give me the strength and perservance even in the toughest days knowing that training now can protect them, help us to have a healthy, loving family and encourage their little hearts for serving You!!
** In reading through this... there's soo much a want to add. But let me add a quick word from the resources that I've read (and heard from my mom for years). "Pick your battles!!" Or don't ask for obedience if you're not really wanting it and don't ask for obedience on non-issues; for example, one of my hardest non-issues is when I want a pic of them:) (although that could be an issue for some)