Ivory Obedience?

Ivory soap – it says 99 44/100 %  pure. OH that I could attain to that kind of obedience!  I am not even talking about cheerful obedience, I’d just be happy to have 99 44/100% obedience, in general, IN ME. 

The question was: Is it reasonable to expect 100% cheerful obedience?

My response to that would be…reasonable? No.  Should we expect it anyway? Yes.  When we remember that our goal is to always be directing our children to the Lord, then we should always expect them to respond in obedience.  That is how we are to respond to Father, yes?  Do we?  No.  That to me, would indicate that we should respond in the same fashion.  It should be expected and grace should be extended when it is not received.

So, what happens when we get decidedly unjoyful obedience?  At my house you get reminded that to serve is an honor and that complaining is a sin.  If it continues, then we go to the next level of correction.  (Canings.) ; )  So, you say, you don’t do canings at your house…what should your next option be?  That is something that you have to take to Father.  It depends on which child is demonstrating the behavior as to what the next step is.  With some children, a discussion is all it will take.  With others, they may need some time to consider their heart attitude.  With some, I’d say, we might have to deal with it with some physical discipline, but it would all depend on all the circumstances surrounding the situation.

(I want to stop here for a moment.  I worked (man, I really didn’t think I had worked all that many places, but it is beginning to sound like I couldn’t hold a job for doodle) with autistic children at a local center.  When I did that, we had to have clearly pre-defined consequences for infractions.  Did that make it any less Spirit-led?  Welllllll, in my situation, that would be the case.  I was a teenaged girl doing what the directors told me to do.  Does that mean it would be that way in a home?  No, it wouldn’t need to be.  The key, in my opinion, would be the state of the heart of the mother as she is dispensing the discipline, IN MY OPINION…and some days that’s not worth the ink it would take to print it!)

What about disobedience, cheerful or otherwise?  Disobedience will not get a reminder at my house.  Being disobedient – openly, defiant disobedience – will result in a swift response from me. (or Jeff)  It will, by God’s grace, be a kind and loving response, but we daren’t allow our children to get in the habit of disobeying, if we’re training them for Father. 

This brings up the next question for me – and it’s one that tl didn’t even ask – how then, do we motivate our children unto obedience?  Motivate, not manipulate – and that is my temptation.  That is how I learned to parent and it is a constant battle for me.

I am not desirous of entering into a discussion of how to discipline our children.  For the sake of this discussion, the how isn’t the issue – it’s the why.  But, (you heard that coming, didn’t you?) I would ask, if you have chosen to eliminate physical discipline from your child training array, please check your methods for manipulation.  Many times the people who have shared with me their methods have exchanged corporal punishment for manipulation.  I fear the long term consequences of that choice are very serious, indeed.

So Ladies, how do we motivate our children unto obedience?

(edit: I am totally joking about the canings comment!!  I just didn’t want anyone to think I meant it, even for a moment.)

4 Responses to “Ivory Obedience?”
  1. javadawn says:

    Oh wow, dawn! Fantastic post! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! A lot of what you said is something at one point I could have answered yes I agree with that (the requiring 100% cheerful obedience) but I couldn’t have said the why. And like you pointed out, it is the why that is importnat. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful and helpful and good these discussions for me are. I have more thoughts, but I want to give them a chance to sort before commenting more. Thank you!
    Posted 8/18/2006 at 12:43 PM by tlnicholas

  2. javadawn says:


    I’m reading this book called “The Paradox Principle of Parenting.” It’s not a method, per se (because, aren’t we all sick of those?) This guy, James Lucas, speaks about how we need to follow God’s method of parenting…which is a great paradox. I’m only on example one, so I won’t recommend the book yet…but number one is speaking EXACTLY about what you are saying as well…Number one paradox…Expect much, but forgive much. He says (as do you) Hold that line of expectation quite high, but be slow to anger, quick to forgive and extend mercy….because, if you think of it, this is what God asks of us. “Be Holy as I am Holy”, but He knows that we are but dust and will fail time and time again. And when we do, he graciously forgives us and pulls us back up and restores us.

    At least, I think that is where you are coming from.

    So, I’m going to see what point number two is…:)

    Posted 8/18/2006 at 1:02 PM by polimommy

  3. javadawn says:

    Holly, I’d LOVE to hear what point 2 is. And yes, that IS what I’m saying – only he says (or you say for him) it better “Hold that line of expectation quite high, but be slow to anger, quick to forgive and extend mercy.” I like that. Thanks! Let me know when you’re going to do your book review of it. : ) : )
    Posted 8/18/2006 at 1:22 PM by javadawn –

  4. javadawn says:

    “So Ladies, how do we motivate our children unto obedience?”

    I don’t know about “we”, but I can speak about “me”. lol *grins* I’ve found that my daughter is the most obedient when I get my own attitude out of the way. The biggest mistakes that I have made have come when I stiffen my spine and decide that it’ s time to “force” her into compliance. Most times, it means that I overlook the bigger issue, and I just muck things up.

    So, for me, obedience comes mostly down to 1)getting rid of my own bad attitude 2)lovingly correcting any acts of sin by telling DD what God’s Word says 3)finding ways to set her up for success.

    Really, my only creativity at all comes with #3, which normally just means that I spend more time in making sure that I’m not asking too much of her. One of our last obedience issues did come with the ‘clean room’ issue, when I realized that I was partly to blame for allowing DD to have way too much stuff in her room… which lead her to feel overwhelmed. Boy, I’ve got a lot to learn about NOT setting my kiddos up for failure.

    Posted 8/19/2006 at 4:40 PM by theproletarian

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