This morning, I leaped out of bed and hurdled my way into the kitchen. It was our girls devotional group today, and I wanted to get school done with the kids. I multi-tasked cutting up vegetables on the counter as Moonbeam splashed happily in her bath water in the kitchen sink. Eyeing the clock, I continued to multitask my way through the morning.
As I sat down with my morning coffee, I encouraged Super Catman to start reading, pronto. I listen to Super Catman read to me every school day. To me, reading is the most critical skill a child can learn at this age and I almost never miss. As I savored my brew, I experienced a short lived bit of tranquility. Super Catman began flicking his his book, consequently creating a loud thumping sound. "Stop that" I said gently holding his hand away from the pages. Defiance on his impish little face surfaced and he began flicking it with the other hand. Time stopped. Then I encouraged him to keep on reading, not wanting to take the time to deal with the little act of disobedience that had surfaced itself. As he continued to read, I began to feel more and more convicted. By the end of the page, I knew that I needed to call him on the flicking. I looked at the clock. Then I ignored it. We talked about disobedience. I gave him a choice of discipline. He chose a day without "Tom and Jerry", his favorite cartoon. We went on to read his devotional together. I was surprised to see it contained this Bible verse :
"Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. Obey them because it's the right thing to do."
I realized that I had done the right thing.
After I had carried all my stuff out to the car I decided to stop and pray. I hadn't made time for that. It's a little silly to be running off to a devotional group and not have spent any time in prayer. The verse I had read with Super Catman weighed heavily on my heart. I decided to share it.
Later on that day, with the gals, I started by sharing about how little acts of disobedience lead to bigger ones. Children who don't learn to obey sooner suffer many hardships now and later on in life. I read the verse Super Catman and I had read together. Then I read a chapter from a devotional that we've been reading. I was shocked to find that the Bible verse we would read was this one!
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
I was pretty sure we were on to something that God wanted us to hear. As we discussed our prayer requests, one of my friends shared that she was feeling a little distanced in her relationship with God. She hadn't made time to pray or read her Bible regularly. She was feeling kind of down. She felt frustrated wanting to hear God more. I encouraged her to take time each day to pray and read her Bible as an act of faith. It could be thought of as a little act of obedience. Each day when I pray and spend time in my Bible, I get direction for the day. Sometimes the direction feels insignificant, but I'm always glad when I follow it. Other times in my life, I've felt God speaking big things to me. Since I try hard to follow the little things, I'm fairly sure when I hear Him with the big ones. Cultivating the ability to hear and obey has saved me from a world of grief and also opened up incredible blessings. Of course this is a process and I'm always learning.
Then it all became clear. Teaching kids to be obedient in little things is very important. Some day, when you yell out to them to "stop"! You might be saving them from getting hit by a car or from running headlong into some other kind of danger. The word "stop" in itself doesn't mean much, especially if it isn't usually enforced. However, if kids know that there are consequences for not obeying, they will "stop". Obeying God in the little things also teaches us to stop, when there is danger ahead. We are, after all, His children.
Here's Nurse Happy Sunny Day's Suggestion in action : The kids research historical characters and act them out. They dress like them and say famous quotes. The parents have to guess who they are. Its a great way to learn in an alternative way. Can you guess what characters the kids are? Art dog is Daniel Boone. Sock Fashion Expert is Theodore Roosevelt. Super Catman..... well, he just wanted to get in on all the fun.