While Junior Mint and I were out today I observed some things, therefore causing me to remember past experiences that have happened to us. You see, we are in the middle of a very big "lesson" with Junior Mint that won't end anytime soon....obedience. Not just obedience, but first-time obedience. That seems like such a simple concept to you and I, however to a 16 month old, this is the hardest thing he has to do right now and it shows!
The Bible says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH." Ephesians 6:1-3. We try to teach Junior Mint that he needs to obey Mommy and Daddy because it makes God happy. Of course, we want him to obey us, as it makes everyone's life easier, however, the main goal is to teach him to be obedient overall-Obedient to us, which grows into an obedience to authority figures and in turn an obedience to God (as we all should have).
Teaching obedience has proven to be a challenge for us (as I'm sure it is for all parents). I am finding that it is increasingly hard to impart the concept of obedience to Junior Mint. I stopped and looked around today and realized that it is incredibly hard to teach obedience in a disobedient world!
You see, we are all born with a predisposition to sin, we have to overcome that with obedience, obedience to God! While we will never become "sin-free" we can choose to obey God's commands and follow Him and ask for forgiveness when we fail. I'm sure all Christian parents would say this is what they are trying to teach their children, to obey God and when we fail we have to ask for forgiveness. However, this world makes it very hard to teach this lesson!
I have noticed many things that are happening in this world that make teaching obedience to our son so difficult! I try to teach Junior Mint to walk appropriately and hold Mommy's hand while he walks, yet there are children running across parking lots and through stores. I try to teach him to sit in his seat until every person is done eating and until he is excused from the table, and yet there are children running to the playground at Chick-fil-a with food in their mouths while the rest of the family is still eating. I try to teach him appropriate playground behavior (ie...wait your turn, use the equipment appropriately, etc...) and yet there are kids pushing my son out of the way to walk up the slide. I try to teach him to respond when he is spoken to and yet everyone says "oh, it's okay don't worry about it" or doesn't respond when we speak to them. I try to teach him not to hit, scream or cry when he is frustrated and yet you see temper tantrums just about everywhere you go these days.
You see, I understand that these things are going to happen, this is the decline in our world today! We explain to him how these things are disobedience and disobedience makes God sad. (And you say "you say this to a 16th month old...yes, and it will get more in depth very soon and does at times...disobedence is sin and sin is separation from God to be exact). Anyway....while we explain this to him it is still difficult....he is in that monkey see, monkey do stage! He sees these things and wants to duplicate them.
With all that being said, it's okay....we still will hold steadfast to what we are doing, cause we know that it WILL pay off. In Proverbs 22:6 it says "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it". I FULLY believe that!! We will continue to train our son in first-time obedience and pray that God will guide us through the process cause you see, it is increasingly hard to teach obedience in a disobedient world!!