Updated: Aug 22, 2019
The HABIT of obedience
When I first became a mom, I was utterly lost. I had my first baby when I was 21. Ten months later I had another baby. So, I had a 10 month old baby boy the day my little girl was born. I loved my babies with all my heart, but really didn't know anything about habits. My view of behavior in the early years was very basic: The Bible says we are all sinners so even my littlest ones are "bent" towards sin. While I still believe that is correct, habit training curves and retrains their brain to do repetitive "good" habits.
What habit training will never do:
Habit training will never cure a sinful heart.
Habit training will never replace our children's need for God to change their hearts.
At birth our hearts are naturally bent toward sin and disobedience: Nothing except the power of God will give them fresh desires.
What habit training will do:
Train their minds to automatically do what is right without much thought ( as they get older and walk into adolescence they may question these habits but the "paths" in the brain are there!)
Provides a "stopping" point in the child's mind as they get older and are faced with the choice to do right or wrong. ( I was raised to be faithful to church. The habit of faithfulness, if I were to decide to quit going, my habit of faithfulness is challenged and makes me stop and think. I am faced with my own heart.)
As parents, we teach habits actively and passively. My two year old is a very polite girl. She expresses love and thankfulness even in her babyhood. I did not teach that in any active way. She hears my grateful heart and mimics me. You know what else she mimics? Attitudes that I express that are not correct and sinful. Times that I speak to my children harshly. She mimics everything I do. Being a homeschool mom, you are a constant living example to your child. We have to be wise to be homeschool moms. As a shepherdess to your flock, you must stay connected to the Great Shepherd and mimic Him. Then, your flock will be more like Christ because of mommy's obedience to God.
The Habit of Obedience
Disobedience is our natural bent from the day we are born! Isn't it amazing how quickly our little ones say "no" to us? Every single one of my children have attempted to tell me "no" around 15 months-ish...
Right there and right then is when the habit of obedience starts. In that moment you must act like your child just did the absolute worst thing they could have done. If you are cooking, put down the spoon. If you are vacuuming, turn it off. Walk over to your child and look at them in the eye and tell them, "We do not tell mommy no". And mean it with all your heart. This disobedience thing isn't cute and it will grow if we laugh and don't take it seriously. Children pick up really quick if we are being serious or not. If you have a baby and you are not sure what they understand yet, ask them to "give you a high 5", if they do it, they can understand you!
Children are much more capable of understanding than we think!
From this day forward never let your baby or toddler tell you "no". They need to answer you or comply with what you have asked because God put you and your husband in charge and one day we will answer to God for the way we raised His children. What a calling we have!!!
Consider Charles Spurgeon's quote:
"You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, & training them up in God’s fear, & minding the house, & making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts."
He says, "training them in God's fear"... training them in God's fear begins with obedient children. The habit of obedience.
Obedient children will have an easier time obeying God. Obedience will be their habit. If the habit is established, they will have that critical "road block" to bypass when they DO disobey. Many children today without the habit of obedience lack that road block. Disobedience is their habit. There are adults without this critical road block.
Consider Charlotte Mason's words:
"The mother's great stronghold is in the habit of obedience. If she begin by requiring that her children always obey her, why, they will always do so as a matter of course; but let them once get the thin end of the wedge in, let them discover that they can do otherwise than obey, and a woeful struggle begins, which commonly ends in the children doing that which is right in their own eyes.
She says, obedience is the mother's "great stronghold". I hear many, many, many Charlotte Mason quotes, but this one is hardly quoted. Why? To me, this is critical!
Did you catch that she said, "begin by requiring that her children always obey her?" For those asking: how to even start with obedience here is your answer: Require it. Stand your ground and win. If your child does not obey you, act like heaven and earth just stood still. It's a big deal! Do you even notice at parks, stores, restaurants...the idle threats moms throw out? All the commands NOT listened to? "Sit down" is what mommy says. One minute later, the child is walking around. Right there-that is disobedience that has to be dealt with. I have had to quietly leave with my children when they were younger multiple times. All of my older children remember the places we left when they were little and as teenagers they now say, "we knew you meant it".
Your word has to mean something to them. If you cannot follow through with a consequence do not even say it. Your word is gold.
Display obedience in your everyday life as parents. If mommy and daddy do not follow rules, why should our children? We have to display behavior that is respectful. Remember when you are driving to follow the rules of the road. Even the slightest hint of breaking the law will be picked up by your children. Live your life obediently.
Living out an obedient life, always requiring obedience, and training the habit of obedience WILL change the way your home functions and make homeschooling a delightful road or as Charlotte Mason would say, "smooth and easy days..."