Last year we had a friend live with us for 4 weeks or so and he was a delightful houseguest. One of the things that I appreciated about having him around was that he respected our boundaries with our kids. He didn’t become a 3rd parent but he was still an adult and he encouraged the kids to do the right thing without being a stern authority.

One day, when one of my kids started to debate/negotiate/argue instead of obey he piped in and said “Do you know that you are making your mum disobey the Word of God?” That sure got our attention.

He went on to say that when my child argued with me and I changed my mind I was disregarding the verse that says – let your yes be yes, and your no be no. (James 5:12). Well! That was a powerful reminder to my child – and I must admit a rebuke to me. My role in my child’s obedience is for my yes to be yes and my no to be no – I cannot change my mind. (I must put a side note in here because communicating these things in the written word it is so easy to take things further than what is meant – I do believe in grace, mercy, and kindness towards my children. Sometimes I am rash in saying yes/no, sometimes I need to reconsider – but I shouldn’t be always changing my mind.)

Today Daniel and I did a devotion together that talked about the same thing. We need to keep our promise. What does this look like in a little person’s life?

Over the weekend we watched “UP”. The main character made promises to his wife – he crossed his heart. We all know those little extra bits that we attach to making a promise – cross our heart, spit and hope to die etc…. It seems to elevate the words of a promise to a Promise (capital P). But that isn’t thinking like God’s Word. God’s Word says, let your yes be yes. We don’t need to dress it up any more than that.

So, whenever we say ‘yes’ to something – we are making a promise.

Again, what does this look like in a little person’s life? Just before we sat down to our devotion time I had asked Daniel to hang the laundry on the line – and he said ‘Yes Mum’. This was a promise. In saying “Yes Mum” he promised he would do so.

This was a new thought to my son – and something that touched his heart. He had never seen that he was making promises to do his chores, or to do his school work.

This is one little building block as we build a heart for integrity and dependability in his life.

As for me – it is a timely reminder of the promises that I make. I make promises to God, to family and even to myself. It is all too easy to say ‘yes’ but not so easy to carry it out. I need to watch what I say ‘yes’ to so that I can live out my promises.

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 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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