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August 10, 2017

Obedience is Overrated

“Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth.”
(Peter Ustinov)


There is a natural tendency for kids to “cut their teeth” on us by trying out harsh emotions and pushing against us on seemingly small matters. This shouldn’t surprise us; in fact, we should be hoping they do. We want to raise strong, confident adults, right?


Obedience is all about our kids saying “yes” to us. But how do we expect our 16-year-old daughters to say “no” to a boy’s unwanted advances when she’s never been allowed to say “no” to anything at home?


Similarly, how can we expect our sons to refuse their friends’ offer to smoke pot when we have never allowed him to make choices on his own?


For a delightful (and insightful) look at how the “gift” of obedience can actually turn out to be a curse, watch the Anne Hathaway movie, “Ella Enchanted.” Then, teach your child that he always has a choice. There are surely consequences, both good and bad, for each choice he makes, but giving him the freedom to choose will go a long way in sharpening his teeth. Maybe he can even, someday, take a bite out of the world (instead of the other way around).


Peace begins with pause,



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