Lately, I’ve noticed my middle child struggling with obedience. Her tendency is to respond to a command by bursting into tears and saying I don’t want to… I need help… I can’t… and so on. I’ve been trying to teach her how to respond to her emotions. One way is to teach her how to appeal: May I finish my coloring page? instead of I don’t want to! or Let me finish this coloring page.
Today she was having hard time obeying.
Among other actions I took, was to talk about Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me). I had her repeat it after me a few words at a time (and she did it! This is progress.) We prayed and asked God to help her obey cheerfully. We talked about thinking “I can, through Christ” instead of “I can’t” Then I sent her to obey.
Alas, she became mired again. When I pointed out that she was getting distracted, and that she must obey, she burst into tears again. “I can’t” We said the verse again.
Eventually the task was completed. I wasn’t feeling like we had made much progress.
- I had been reading on the couch. In retrospect, I should have gotten off the couch right away and sat next to her while she obeyed. I think it would have made a difference in her motivation (think of mom as coach and not antagonist). You would think I would know better, and I do. But I don’t always do what I know is best.
- Several hours later, my son said, I can say that whole verse. and proceeded to do so. This got me thinking again about indirect teaching. Is this the way he learns best? Is that a good thing or a challenge to work on? I don’t know, so I’m praying for wisdom.