It’s hard to get your kids to listen and obey you sometimes. It can be outright exhausting to repeat yourself over and over or help them demonstrate good character when you’ve felt like you’ve tried hard to teach them that particular virtue.
Recently, the Lord showed me something about that through a teaching I heard. It basically boiled down to this saying, which you may have heard before:
“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
I used to try to obey God so I could get on his good side, win his approval, increase my chances of his blessings, or my entrance into the grand palace upstairs. I finally realized that obedience was much easier once I recognized how much He loved me and I truly experienced and felt that love. It was in my gratitude for Him, who has done so much for me, how much He loves me, and how He demonstrates His love to me regularly, that obedience to His ways became much easier. It was no longer such a “burden”.
He makes me feel good. And, I don’t think that’s bad, since He created emotions for us to enjoy and experience. They are a reflection of Him and it allows us to enjoy Him even more.
MAKE THEM FEEL GOOD
I’m saying this because I’m the type who can easily exasperate my kids. I’m far from a passive, laid back parent, and I can lay down some rules! But getting my kids to follow those rules can be EXHAUSTING, especially if they don’t like me. Let’s be real. Sometimes our kids just don’t like us. For me, they don’t really like me when I’m losing my temper, ignoring them, distracted, or straight up thinking about my own needs and priorities. Sure, I’m there doing lots of things for them– taking them to classes, teaching them every day as we home-school, making dinner, washing clothes..but am I mostly being a Martha to them, or am I balancing out as a Mary, too?
I realize that when I cause them to adore me through my present minded behaviors–genuinely listening, patiently walking them through better choices, serving them, they adore me and they listen to me more easily, just as we desire to listen to our Father because we experience and feel His daily investment into us. We want to please Him in a healthy way. He’s not just busy doing things for us, He’s present and there for us..guiding, counseling, loving, forgiving. When we feel that, we adore Him all the more!
I know we aren’t perfect, but I think if we catch on to this truth and do our best to respond with the grace and attention that God gives us, we will find our children will more often respond to us in a way that reflects how we respond to our Father.