The 10-year old son prepared today’s devotion. I was curious what he’d come up with that would support the broad topic of leadership, and he surprised me by coming up with a discussion on the leadership trait of obedience. OBEDIENCE!!!
“9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[a] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[b] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[c] high all around.[d] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”
My son had asked for help in finding a “non-boring” video, and we found another great one at LeadershipforKids.org – I know, I know, I really need to figure out how to embed these videos…but they aren’t as easy to do as the ones on YouTube. And, as with the last video from this site, this one also has an activity sheet to help lead the discussion. He ends our devotion with a great verse for young people:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
Obedience has always been very much stressed in our household. As parents, we do expect the children to do what they are told the first time. There is no reason we should have to tell them multiple times to do something. Now, that sounds good, doesn’t it? It doesn’t always happen that way!
This past summer, we’ve had multiple times when kids didn’t do as they have been told, and suffered the consequences. We had a fun day planned at HersheyPark in Pennsylvania, but we did not go because the children failed to do a task, after being told multiple times. And, for us, it’s not just obedience. It’s obeying with a happy spirit, and working together to accomplish the goal. We believe that if children are not brought up to be obedient to their parents, they will not be obedient to other authority figures. It might be debatable, but I believe that we see this scenario playing out with a lot of today’s social problems.
Obedience isn’t something we can simply “preach” to our kids and hope that they will do it. In our house, we utilize consequences – both good and bad (and by “bad,” it is typically the removal of a privilege) – to shape desired behavior. We started when they were very young. I can remember a situation when our daughter was maybe one and a half, two years old. She was wanting something and we did not give it to her. She proceeded to have a tantrum by throwing herself on the floor, kicking and wailing. We kept an eye to make sure she remained safe, but we did not cave in. She even tried to follow us from room to room – we’d go to the kitchen, she’d come throw herself on the kitchen floor. We’d go to the living room, she’d follow and again, throw herself on the floor. We continued to ignore the behavior and did not respond. She learned a valuable lesson that day – that disobedience and negative behavior will not get her far; that was the first and last tantrum she had.
Now, I’ve intentionally left out a LOT of our family’s personal discussion/commentary. This is for 2 reasons. One, I’m focused on the discussion and not so much the recording of what is said. Two, our discussion is left out so that you can have your own unique, personal discussion and reflection without the bias of what we say!
I hope you are enjoying these; I’ve had a few folks approach me in real life to tell me they appreciate the posts, so I hope you find it encouraging and helpful in engaging your family!