The most important thing you are doing is training your children. The hardest thing you do is to stop what you are usually doing and take the time to train your children.
Let me give you an example. You are getting ready for church, and you like to be on time. You have already dressed the kids, and you are putting the finishing touches on your own gorgeous self. You had asked little Tammy to clear the table and Matt to take out the garbage. When you walk out of your room, they are watching TV in the living room. The garbage is not out and the table is not clear.
#1 You lose it. Glancing at the clock, you know that time has caught you again. “GET IN THE CAR. . . NOW!” you shout. You shut off the TV, they run out the door, you follow them like the grisly troll from Billy Goats Gruff. You jump in the car. You start the engine and your motor mouth at the same time. The ride to church is a lecture on obedience, punctuality, and consequences when you get back home. You arrive at church two minutes late and imagine that Jesus is standing at the door, looking at his watch and tapping his foot.
#2 You don’t say a word. You take out the garbage, you clear the table, you grab your Bible and gather everyone in the car. You wonder what you are doing wrong, you resent the kids in that moment, you silently lecture yourself, you think thoughts that you don’t dare say out loud. Meanwhile, the kids are wondering what you are thinking while they exchange smirks. You arrive late . . . again.
#3 #4 and #5 are not good options either; we have tried them all.
What we did discover is that training our children comes first. We learned to stop everything and get our lives straight and our relationships straight as first priority. This is a training moment. Why not put God’s truth into practice instead of rushing to church to learn God’s truth so that we can supposedly put it into practice. See the difference?
Dealing with the character issues in your children as they occur cannot be overrated. What would we have done? We would have taken the children to our room, helped them see their disobedience, one spank, ask forgiveness, prayer, back to the jobs to see them completed, hugs and restoration, then out the door to church. (If you are the Sunday school teacher, call someone to handle the opening for you. If you are the pastor, simply explain that you had to put your family first. You train your children and your congregation). If you make training your children this important, your kids will get the message.
I am not talking about stopping everything so that your kids can get what they want; I am talking about stopping everything to train them.
If you will be late for a situation that your child wants to go to, it becomes easier. Here you can use the logical consequence of just waiting him out until he does his job. No fuss, no harsh words, just wait. Example: it’s his ballgame. He says, “It’s time to go; let’s go.” You wait; you might ask, “Is the trash out?” You just don’t move until the responsibility is done. Then you go. Dr. Kevin Leman explains it this way: “B does not happen until A is completed.” That puts the authority back with the parent, where it belongs. And it puts the obedience burden on the children. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right; you will live a long life and things will go well with you.”
Train your children. It is the most important thing you can do on earth.