Obedience: An Issue of the Heart {A Mommy Post}

"Please don't do that."

"How many times have I asked you to start on your homework?"

"You did not follow my directions."

"Cleaning your room means picking up everything, including the closet."

"If you had done what I asked you, you would already be done!"

Sometimes life as a mom is really hard.  Do you ever feel like all you have said is "NO!", "Stop!" or "Don't do that!"  Sometimes I wonder how many different ways I can say the.same.thing. Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I just let the eye-rolling happen. Sometimes I roll MY EYES! Sometimes I just want {*sigh*} to sit on the couch without correcting anyone or anything.  Yes, these two cuties can test me big time {but aren't they CUTE?}

Teaching and expecting obedience from our kiddos is not easy and it is something that I am continually refining day in and day out.  It is so easy to get frustrated.  Several months ago I heard something that caught my attention from a good girl friend.  We were chatting about kids, parenting, school and there the line was...right in front of me...

"OBEY right away, all the way, in a happy way." 

The first time I heard this phrase, I knew it was GOLDEN.  As a parent {and teacher} I am always looking for those simple, yet effective things we can do to help our children understand what we are asking of them.  After further research, it seems that this phrase was originally, "Obey right away, all the way, with a happy heart." It is a quote from author, Ginger Hubbard, who wrote Don't Make Me Count to Three and Wise Words for Moms.    

YES! This is it! Once I incorporate this saying into my parenting, my kids will totally obey everything I say {lol.} I came home, pulled my two kiddos together, and we discussed the phrase and what each part meant.  I was READY to start using this phrase that was perfect for my KIDS! That night, before I fell asleep, I felt a nudging..."Whitney, do you practice what you are preaching to your kids....Do you obey Me right away, all the way, in a happy way?" OUCH.

"....BUT, Lord....This is great for the kids, I am going to teach them scripture, we will talk about having a happy heart and learn more about You!..."

Don't ya just love it when a great plan you believe as "yours" was really God's all along?  He pointed it out loud and clear! So, I am here to testify that obedience is a HEART issue. It is constantly a struggle for me and not just my children.  Doing what God asks of me right away...I can manage that, but all the way and in a happy way...let's just say it is something I have to give over to Him many times when he calls for my obedience.  

Several years ago at church, we has a series on "Authority Issues."  We all have them in one form or another, and I love what our pastor challenged us with...
The activity pictured above is a tangible way for my kiddos to see the different authority roles around them.  Obviously, there are other people placed as authority figures in all of our lives, but I kept it simple and had my kids tell me their authority figures.  I LOVE the quote from Ed Young about getting under what God has placed over us...that was really what HE was telling me that night I felt him nudging.  Only when I am fully under the authority of his will, can I be the mom that my littles need me to be.  

So, since I have learned that obedience is a heart issue, every time my littlest love obeys in a happy way she gets a sticker for her Heart Chart! {I think I need a Happy Heart Chart too!}

 I have created several printables to help teach my own kiddos about obedience. The resource includes mini-posters, handouts with scripture, and a reflection book that has two forms {for older kids and younger kids}.  The reflection piece has the kiddos analyze what obeying right away, all the way, and in a happy way LOOKS like and SOUNDS like! I hope you will find them useful too for your kiddos or your Sunday School class! You can get them from my google doc or over at my TPT store

Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." My greatest desire for my children is to KNOW His voice and follow Him.  Teaching and expecting obedience in our home is a way for me to help train them to hear HIS voice and HIS heart.   

Thanks for letting me step out of my teacher role and into my mommy role to share this post with you!

Get the resources here!

Growing Character from Leaving Your Children an Intentional Legacy Blog has info and scriptures about obedience.  She also gives lots of crafts and conversations starters for you and your kiddos.  I have some of her ideas pictured in my above post.

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  1. Love this, Whitney! Teaching obedience is a tricky one and these printables are precious! Thanks for sharing!

  2. We have had quite a night with my 4 year old. This is exactly what I needed right now! Thank you for all of these resources and help.

    Teaching with Hope

  3. Thank you, Hope! I hear ya! I am glad you found the resource helpful! I love your blog! :-)

  4. I am your newest follower and pinned the heck out of this post!
    Teacher to the Core

    Here's the pin! 500,000 Viewers!

    1. Katie! Wow! Thank you so much for the sweet words and pins! I am so grateful!!!

  5. What a treasure trove. Came over here from Katie's blog because today's book study is about obedience ... WoW! Pinned and share. Keep up the beautiful {heart} work.

    Author: What's Under Your Cape?

    1. Barbara,
      Wow! Thank you so much for popping over to my blog and leaving such kind words!

  6. We are dealing with all of this right now with our 2 soon to be 3 year old daughter! I am also a first grade teacher who could be better at disciplining lovingly within the classroom! I am your newest follower!


    The Weekly Sprinkle

  7. Please be careful what you teach your children. I was taught "obey right away" (no "happy way") as a child, followed by spankings and smackings if I ever questioned or took more than a second to comply. The result.... I am 40 years old and working on escaping an abusive marriage. After years of soul-searching and therapy I've realized that "obey right away" led to acceptance of being treated like dirt by my husband. People around me don't understand my compulsion to hop to every demand of his, no matter how ridiculous or petty, and to never expect to be treated with any kind of respect. I was trained from early childhood to accept demands and do what I'm told without question, and accept any abuse from the authority figure. I've come to really hate it, but having had it beaten into me from an early age and during my developmental years makes it very difficult to get rid of. I don't deserve to be treated like this by my husband. You really need to think about how your teachings will impact your child as an adult. Don't teach them to blindly accept demands and abuse.

  8. Hi Anonymous. I hate to hear this. I will be praying for your situation. NO ONE deserves to be treated in the ways you describe above. I believe that children should always know the "why" behind why they made a poor choice or behind a consequence. As a parent (or teacher for that matter) if you can't answer the "why" then you need to rethink some things. I was brought up in this way too, of obeying right away. We expect our kids to mind us without arguing or delay; at the same time, the things we are asking of them are very age-appropriate. I know that not everyone out there in our world uses the best judgement and decision-making. Many are abusing their authority role and that breaks my hear. I hate that you have had these experiences with people out from under God's "umbrella" of authority. I would never teach my kids to accept blind demands. Dialogue between child and parent is HUGE. I also believe that if the relationship is healthy, and as the child grows up, he/she will be prepared to make decisions and know their own rights as a person entering adulthood. Best wishes in your situation.

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  10. Thank you for this awesome post and printables! I'm going to use this in my Sunday School class tomorrow and for my own family!

  11. Thank you very Steady info ... hopefully more successful.
    Pengobatan Alami Penyempitan Jantung

  12. LOVE it!! thanks what I needed <3

  13. So thankful for you sharing these! We are doing obedience in our Little Flowers Club today and this is just what I needed! Thank you Pinterest for finding this :)

  14. Thank you so much for these excellent printables! And, thank you also for not charging or making me enter my email; it's so nice to see generosity online!