One of the issues that was directed towards me, in the early years of our homeschooling was the ‘concern’ that our children would not respond to other adults, aka other authorities. This was not a concern about their character so much as a concern about their ability to recognise and their willingness to submit to different authorities.
Though I was uncertain about the truth of what they were saying, I tucked it away in my heart to ponder. I remember the day that it became apparent that this was something that needed to be intentionally taught.
Our local church had a time where the children came down to the front and heard a children’s talk/sermon, often presented by one of the mums. My children loved this time and were very quick to respond to questions and prompts. But they didn’t know how to ‘put up their hand’ and wait to be asked to respond. We didn’t do this at home. It was a social response that was unfamiliar to them. In a way, it was a respect towards the authority of that moment.
Since then I’ve been aware of all sorts of situations, both within homeschooling circles and out, where children need to be quick to respond to other authorities in their life.
- Family friends
- Shop Keepers
- Club Leaders
These are the adults in our children’s lives and at different times these people have authority over our children. Do our children recognise and acknowledge this authority? Do they obey, just as they do to your authority?
- No arguing, complaining or negotiating
- Happy responses, such as “Yes, Mrs…”
- Act immediately
- Complete the task
One of the aspects of this that we have brought to our children’s attention is that different authorities are different. They may voice their instructions differently, their standard may be different, their tone may be different but they are still the authority. Regardless of how the authority acts our child’s heart is always to be respectful and ready to obey.
Then Peter and the other apostle replied,
“We must obey God rather than men.”
Of course, there is always a way of escape. Just as God tells us to obey our authorities (our boss and the laws of the land are two such authorities) God gives us a way of escape by putting His authority over all else. We are first to obey God’s authority. This is also our children’s way of escape and we need to be intentional about instructing them in this aspect of obedience as well. We need to let them know that at no time do we expect them to obey an authority if it goes against the standard of the family, which is based on the standard of God’s Word. This is to be an area of instruction and training in our family; we need to talk to them and give them ideas of how to respectfully handle such a situation.
Obeying other authorities is an aspect of obedience that needs to be understood and practiced regardless of the age of our children – toddlers, young children and teenagers all need to respond appropriately to the authority figures in their life. It is our responsibility as a parent to instruct them of this standard and to help them live it out.
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Don’t Trust in Rules: Legalism vs Heart: When we trust rules we start to lead into legalism. Instead we need to trust in Jesus which will bring life and truth to our kids’ hearts.
How to Help your Kids Grow in Character: If you want your kids to grow in character you need to do more than teach a good character lesson. Character is built by making daily choices.
I Know it is important – but do I know why? We must know why do we do the things that we do otherwise when things get tough we we will stop doing the things that seemingly have little value.
The Importance of Communication when Expecting Obedience: Communication, both for the parent and child, is important if obedience is going to be a part of your family value system. Includes printable Parent Guide to talk about this issue with your Teens
Over to you:
How have you encouraged your children to obey other authority figures?
Love to hear from you in the comments.