Demanding Instant, Cheerful Obedience? Really?

Below is from a post of mine in a group that I created for (local to me) Christian parents who parent gently or want to learn more about how to parent gently with Christ as our model of gentle parenting.  I’ve edited it some so that it makes sense to readers.  I pray that it encourages you to run deeper into the Father’s amazing, everlasting, lavish and radical love for you!

“I don’t demand instant, cheerful obedience with our children. I actually cringed when I even hear the words “demand instant, cheerful obedience.” I treat my children as I would want to be treated which means that I ask them to do things and I ask them for their cooperation. We explain that we are a team and we work together; we cooperate with each other as best as we can. My children are not enthusiastic about cleaning the house yet they do help because of what I mentioned. Just yesterday I took all three boys to the dentist. My almost 9 year old was VERY resistant to going (because he has had to have work done on his teeth and found it to be unpleasant). However, he eventually did cooperate with me and did see the dentist without my having to yell at him, spank him, drag him physically, etc. I explained to him extensively about how it was important that the dentist check his teeth and that part of my job as a good mom is to take him to the dentist to make sure that his teeth are healthy so that they won’t rot and fall out. I explained to him that I needed him to cooperate with me and see the dentist. I won’t lie. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if he continued to resist. Oh, I think that I said that daddy would not be happy if he didn’t cooperate. I think that that helped but NOT because my son fears daddy will spank him since we don’t spank. Anyway, I just felt like I needed to persuade him to trust me – that he has trusted me thus far and that he needs to be confident that I want what is best for him.

Theologically, I feel strongly in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” I especially want to focus on the part about not demanding your own way – in fact, God even does not demand His own way. The Old Covenant “didn’t work” because humans FAIL at obeying perfectly. It was Jesus who obeyed perfectly on our behalf so that we can be completely reconciled to the Father. When we choose to abide in Christ, it is HIS obedience that makes us righteous (Romans 3:24; lots more about it in Romans 4 and 5) – “for if keeping the Law could make us right with God then there was no need for Christ to die” (Galatians 2:21). I refuse to put a burden of obedience on my children when I cannot even obey perfectly. I focus on what I believe that God wants from us – a cooperative, love relationship. I understand that some of you may not 100% agree with me and that is fine. I just wanted to share my thoughts and experience and if anyone is willing to talk about demanding instant, cheerful obedience. Again, I don’t expect us to agree on everything.”

Here is my response to a concern over this post: But how will they learn to obey human authority?

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About thecrunchymamachronicles

I'm a woman obsessed with the amazing, everlasting, lavish, never-failing LOVE of the Heavenly Father through Jesus. It's my favorite thing to meditate on and to write about. His expression of love has radically transformed me from a joyless, miserable person to the me who is full of joy and love for others because of my radical identity as the beloved of God. I am devoted to my husband and to gently parenting our three boys with Jesus as my model of the ultimate gentle parent.
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