It's 9:00 on Saturday morning and the boys are still quiet in their room. I'm not sure if they have begun to stir or if they are still sleeping. But they are quiet, and none of them have come out to check and see if it is time to get up for the day. They had been instructed the night before, to wait for the "green sign" in the morning. So far so good. I contently sit in the quiet while finishing my morning reading. Then I hear the door creak open and immediately I get frustrated.
"Why don't they just wait for the green sign?"
"Why can't they just obey?"
Here is where their disobedience became partly my fault...
8:00am is their wake-up time on school days and 9:00am on the weekends.
Yes, they have not obeyed my instruction: "Boys, in the morning you need to wait for the green sign", but I haven't abided by my end of the deal. The green sign was meant to be a sign that mommy and daddy would never forget them in the mornings and that we would allow them to get up at a timely hour, not use the green sign as a way to get a few more extra quiet minutes (or 30!) out of the day.
Instead of waiting until they are getting antsy and repeatedly opening the door and closing it, I should try my best to set them up for obedience.
This might mean putting the sign under the door just a couple of minutes early so that they can see what it feels like to be able to be obedient.
Or maybe sticking by our "wake-up time", instead of waiting for them to begin stirring.
Another way I can set my kids up for obedience is by expecting the best out of them.
Jude loves the school pencils. He loves to run around the house with them sticking out of his mouth and chewing on the eraser tops. But he KNOWS he is not supposed to touch them. So when he begins to sidestep toward the pencils, while looking at me out of the corner of his eye to see if I'm watching, I can gently repeat our common rule of "no pencils, JuJu". And when he finally reaches his desired destination and pauses for that infamous "I'm here, whatcha gonna do about it" look in my direction, I can say, "Yay Jude, NO PENCILS!" while clapping and praising.
I can try to catch him in the middle of his thought process as he decides whether he is going to obey or not, and praise him before he makes that choice. Maybe that slight pause is just him testing you, but give him the benefit of the doubt.
By all means, don't be a naive parent, but give your kids the opportunity to obey, 'cause I'm pretty sure God isn't looking over his children from heaven just WAITING for us to mess up. He is patient and kind, and always gives us a way out. A chance to obey.