Growing Obedience in Your Kids at Christmas

12 Days of Christmas Parenting

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! It seems like we just celebrated Thanksgiving a few days ago. This time last year, I posted a holiday blog tour called: “The 12 Days of Christmas Parenting”  on the blogs some of my favorite people. This year, I’ll be posting those articles on my blog for those who either missed it last year – or need a reminder for some practical ways to lead your kids during this busy season!

I’ll share tips for parents on how to navigate the difficult traps of the holidays, and create moments with life long impact. We’ll talk about 12 ideas to combat ingratitude, selfishness and impatience — and encourage generosity in your children, especially through the holidays.

Today’s post originally appeared on Jenni Catron‘s blog. Jenni serves as the Executive Director for Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where she leads the staff and oversees the ministry at their four campuses. You can follow Jenni on Twitter here.



Growing Obedience in Your Kids at Christmas

When I survey parents at conferences, the characteristic they most want in their kids is: Obedience. Kids disobey for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they claim they didn’t hear mom when she told them to do something. At other times, they’re flooded with so many distractions, they forget to obey mom. Still other times, they are stubborn and just decide they want to do something else. It’s rather refreshing when kids recognize their own shortcomings. Tommy sat on Santa’s lap and recited a litany of toys he wanted for Christmas: a rocket, a bicycle, a video game, a water gun, and a DVD. When Santa replied, “Wow — I will do my best. Let me just check to see if you’ve been a good, obedient boy this year…” The boy responded, “Forget it. Just get me the rocket.”

So how do we cultivate obedience in our children? The answer may depend on how old they are, but let me suggest one idea.

Try this.

If they are young — take some time and play “Simon Says.” Do you remember that game? You stand up front and give instructions to your kids to do the following: Put their hand on their head, clap their hands, rub their stomach, jump up and down, stretch out their arms, etc. The key is: They are only to follow through and do it if you first say: “Simon Says.” You know the drill.

Afterward, talk about how this game is a little like life. When God, a parent or a teacher instructs us to do something, obedience is the name of the game. They are our leaders. Next, talk about a few stories from the Bible, where God asked his people to do something. Then, discuss the fact that there’s always a reason for obedience. Talk about why God told His people to do the following:

PERSON                           GOD’S REQUEST                                    WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT?

1. Noah                                1. To build an ark                                        1.

2. Lot’s wife                        2. Don’t look back on Sodom                   2.

3. King David                     3. Don’t take a census of Israel               3.

God actually had good reason for each of his directions for Noah, Lot’s wife and David. (It was to avoid a flood; to prevent any longing for a past sinful life; and to ensure David trusted God for protection, not his army). Similarly, both God and parents have a “why” behind their directions.

If you have older kids, try an exercise for one week. Every time you must tell them “what” to do, take a few minutes and explain “why” you’re asking them to do it. Often, when kids begin to see the “why” behind the “what,” it fosters obedience. Further, it can build trust the next time you don’t have time to explain the “why” behind your leadership. Trusting in our leaders breeds obedience.

“Children, obey your parents, in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1)

What can you do this Christmas to grow obedience in your kids? 

Growing Obedience in Your Kids at Christmas