Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Submitting, not negotiating

Yesterday I read a very convicting parenting quote. The author is talking about how God has given us, as parents, the responsibility of representing Him to our children—first as "a God of unlimited love" but "also the possessor of majestic authority." He goes on to say,

To show our little ones love without authority is as serious a distortion of God's nature as to reveal an iron-fisted authority without love.

From this perspective, then, a child who has only "negotiated" with his parents and teachers during times of conflict has probably not learned to submit to the authority of the Almighty. ... To repeat, a child learns to yield to the authority of God by first learning to submit to (rather than bargain with) the leadership of his parents. [The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson, p 56]

It just made me stop and think, When I give my son a directive, am I allowing him to negotiate for his terms rather than requiring him to simply obey what I've asked him to do? Kind of serious stuff when you think of the ramifications of getting into a habit of not submitting to one's authorities (especially to the Lord). But one thing it has done is empower me to lovingly enforce my directives, and it is [surprisingly?] improving his attitude about obeying me! God is good!

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