Habit Training: Obedience

2016 was a great year. A lot of new opportunities in homeschooling and in church. We met great friends, and made new discoveries. In fact, there is a long list to blog about which I’m sure I won’t be able to do.  From the Charlotte Mason Talk I gave, to 2016 birthday parties of my children, to our love for Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. 

As much as I wanted to linger and think of 2016’s joys and accomplishments, I woke up today looking forward to what 2017 has in store. I started planning for our week and thought of new goals for the year. One of which is Habit Training. My heart is set on being intentional and consistent with Habit Training, starting again with Obedience. I was reading CM’s words to help give focus on the why’s and the how’s. Let me write some of her words to inspire us nanays/mamas to keep on keeping on 🙂 

“..Obedience is the whole duty of man; obedience to conscience, to law, to Divine direction.”

“..If the parent realize that obedience is no mere accidental duty, the fulfilling of which is a matter that lies between himself and the child, but that he is the appointed agent to train the child up to the intelligent obedience of the self-compelling, law-abiding human being, he will see that he has no right to forego the obedience of his child..”

“…he obeys because his sense of right makes him desire to obey in spite of temptations of disobedience – not of constraint, but willingly – that the habit has been formed which will, hereafter, enable the child to use the strength of his will against his inclinations when these prompt him to lawless courses. It is said that the children of parents who are most strict in exacting obedience often turn out ill; and that orphans and other poor waifs brought up by under strict discipline only wait their opportunity to break out into license. Exactly so; because, in these cases, there is no gradual training of the child in the habit of obedience; no gradual enlisting of his will on the side of sweet service and a free-will offering submission to the higher law: the poor children are simply bullied into submission to the will, that is, the willfulness, of another; not at all, ‘for what is right’; only because it is convenient.”

“There is no need to rate the child, or threaten him, or use any manner of violence, because the parent is invested with authority which the child intuitively recognizes. It is enough to say, ‘Do this,’ in a quiet, authoritative tone, and expect it to be done. The mother often loses her hold over her children because they detect in the tone of their voice that she does not expect them to obey her behests; she does not think enough of her position; has not enough confidence in her own authority.”

“By-and-by, when he is old enough, take the child into confidence; let him know what a noble thing it is to be able to make himself do, in a minute, and brightly, the very thing he would rather not do. To secure this habit of obedience, the mother must exercise great self-restraint; she must never give a command which she does not intend to see carried out to the full. And she must not lay upon her children burdens, grievous to be borne, of command heaped upon command.”

She has more to say about obedience but let me write about it on another post. For now, I’d like to focus on the words above and jot some thoughts:

◉ Obedience to parents is not the end goal. It only starts there, and eventually extends to authority, law, and to our Creator. 

◉ We parents ought to take this task seriously. We parents are appointed with this task. Not the teachers, nor pastors or priests, or uncles. It is OUR task.

◉ Intelligent obedience is the goal, not blind obedience (or arbitrary obedience).

◉ The sense of right ought to make a child want to obey. The goal is for him to willingly obey because he sees the wisdom in it.

◉ The habit of obedience (in light of doing what is right in His eyes) becomes second nature, and this habit strengthens his will against decisions that are “lawless”.

◉ Authoritarian Parenting is different from Authoritative Parenting. Authoritarian parenting will break his spirit. A child under this strict upbringing will eventually break free to disobedience if given the chance.

◉ A child bullied to “obey” comply for convenience, and not because it is right.

◉ Building a habit takes time and consistency.

◉ There is no need to shout or nag. Instead, believe and act on the authority given to us as parents which the child already recognizes.

◉ We should have confidence in our authority. Remember, we are appointed. We should not second guess this authority given to us, and simply yield to the child’s whims or tantrums. It is for their own sakes.

◉ We should practice self-restraint and not nag on and on. And so, we must be present and really get to know these children rather than boss them around. 


Easier said than done, right?

Praying for more grace to enable us, and equip us. 

Year 2017, let’s do this.

How about you? what are some of your goals this year? 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. What are some practical ways you do with your kids to help them form the habit of obedience? What can you say about this,"obey right away, all the way, in a happy way" ?

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