Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord – Colossians 3:20
One of the Sunday school teachers at my church gave her students pennies as part of the assignment. She quickly realized that pennies and young children don’t mix. The kids were sticking them in their mouths, flipping them in the air, and snatching them from each other. The teacher asked the kids to place the pennies in their pockets or hold them in their hands until class was over. The kids completely ignored her and continued with their tomfoolery. Fed up, she gathered the children together and explained to them that they had to obey. The children stood with bewildered looks on their faces. The teacher quickly realized that these children were unfamiliar with the concept of obey. When she defined the word, some of the children asked, “Why should we obey you?”
That word seems to have negative connotations in our society. It conjures up images of a harsh, whip-wielding taskmaster. Therefore, we rarely hear it used. “You will obey” has given way to “please do what mommy/daddy asked.”
My wife used to give our kids to the count of three to do what she told them to do. I informed her that she was essentially giving them permission to disobey her. The kids knew that they always had an extra three seconds to comply. Our kids now understand that they must immediately obey when mommy or daddy give a command or else there will be consequences.
We all know that the word obey was removed from marriage vows. That made sense because marriage needs to be a partnership. But as parents, we cannot afford to strip this word from our vocabulary. It is our responsibility to ensure that our children understand the importance of obeying. If children don’t learn how to obey their parents, they will encounter trouble when they enter other areas where they will be expected to obey such as school and work.
Many young men have been shot by police officers because their failed to obey the officer’s directions. Many other people have been fired from their jobs because they didn’t want to obey their bosses. Learning to obey is important. Teaching children to obey is Parenting 101.
When I picked up my daughter from class, I was proud to see that her penny was securely in her hand exactly where the teacher told her to keep it. I commended her on her willingness to obey.