7 Secrets of Successful Families puts it like this:
“The parents who do not exercise righteous authority and require their children to obey and honour them aren’t only creating problems for themselves and society; they are also cursing their children with a life of problems….We must unapologetically begin to exercise righteous parental authority. It is an essential element for domestic success and survival. When proper parental authority is present, it creates the framework for lasting, loving relationships. When it is absent, it invites the most horrible influences from within and without to destroy one’s marriage and family.”
Everybody answers to somebody. Even the President of the United States answers to others. We all answer to God. No one is an island! It is essential that our children know the value and safety that comes with respecting their parental authority. In fact, when they rightfully honour and obey their parents they are taken care of, provided for, and trained in a way that allows them to blossom and contribute positively to both society and their own future families.
Parents, by position, have a certain authority. They know more, they are the breadwinners, and they birthed the baby. This is not a master/slave relationship, but more of a mentor/mentee relationship. Part of a parent’s job is to teach, train, discipline, grow, and shape the little human into the big human they will become. However, human nature rears its ugly head oh-so-early and little ones think they know it all. No, I don’t need to eat. Yes, I need to stay up until 3am playing xbox. No, I don’t need to do my homework. Yes, I need to talk on the phone for 13 hours.
Part of our role as a parent is to show children the wise way, the way that is good for them. That won’t always be the thing they want to do, in fact, the younger they are, it will often be the exact opposite. When children respect your authority and position and learn that you mean business, they will – if reluctantly – follow your lead. By doing this they’ll grow in self-control and after experience up on experience they’ll begin to see that maybe – just maybe – you know what you’re talking about. (If you, in fact, do know what you are talking about).
Some points on honouring, obeying, and respecting authority:
1) Parents run the house, not the children. The dynamic of the home with children and without children will surely be different, but this doesn’t mean a child’s whim reigns supreme. Meal time may be earlier (and wake time, for that matter). The home decor may take on a bit more of a, um, plastic primary colour scheme. Routine that best serves the child will be followed, and so on and so on. However, a house where the parents “wear the pants” will be one of order. Plans won’t change and a child doesn’t get to determine the path just because they cry, throw a tantrum, give the silent treatment, or lock themselves in their room. This is not to say that parents don’t take into account their children’s wishes. Of course they do. But if everything drops at the first sign of a child’s discontent, there will be major problems when they hit teenage years. Contrary to what we may initially think, letting children make important decisions will only breed their insecurity. Inside, they know they are not as wise as you, they know you are supposed to be the boss, and they know that you have delegated your own authority to them. This will cause disdain and contempt in their attitude towards you.
2) There’s a difference between grovelling and showing honour and respect. I can choose to honour and respect those who are put in positions of authority over me. I can teach my child to be polite helpful to elders, to defer to their babysitter or teacher, and to show honor by refusing to join in gossip. People often mistake submission and honor with grovelling. Grovelling is acting out of insecurity to try to gain favor or approval. Submission is having a healthy respect for authority. Our children should learn to stand up for themselves and what they think is right, all the while maintaining an attitude of honor. This will get them far in life.
3) Honor will reap honor. I am a firm believer of sowing and reaping. It is similar to the principle of karma. If we teach children to serve and love others they will set themselves up to be blessed later in life. Those who give receive more. Those who love more are loved more in return. Those who are friendly have more friends. And on and on. Teaching our children honor and integrity will set them up to succeed. We won’t create submissive children without “minds of their own” simply by teaching them this concept. In fact, they will learn that we can be trusted and within this proper relationship will come many opportunities to help them grow and mature.
A little heavy, yes, but essential to raise children who will be little boys and girls of honor who turn into men and women of honor. An honourable courageous man or woman did not become so when they hit the legal drinking age. They were made so by parents who put in time and effort.
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