By Joey and Carla Link
March 16, 2022
As a parent, you have likely heard your kids say, “It’s not fair” or “You can’t make me.” In our book, “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave”, I (Joey) tell a story about the time when I was 12 and playing in Little League baseball. I had a bad attitude about an umpire’s calls and how unfair I thought his strike zone was. I let my attitude be known to the entire team and anyone else who could hear me. My Dad, who was one of the coaches, along with the other coach decide to make me sit and I didn’t play again that game. The next game, I didn’t play either. Being one of the better players on our team, I asked my Dad, why. He said that until I got my attitude straight, I wasn’t going to play anymore.
My Dad and the other coach were willing to sacrifice team wins to teach me a much-needed lesson that I have carried my whole life. It doesn’t matter if things go your way or not, you get in there and give it your best effort, every time.
In 1 Samuel 15 God had Samuel appoint Saul the first king over Israel. He gave Saul one assignment, to fight against their enemy and to kill every one of them including their king and their animals and to take no spoils (material things). But Saul didn’t do that. He did fight them and win, but he brought back many of their animals saying they would be good to sacrifice to God in honor of their victory. They brought back the king too.
When King Saul met up with Samuel, he said, “Blessed be you to the Lord, I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” (vs. 13) Kids who don’t want to change their selfish ways or take responsibility for their actions or attitudes will blame others or make excuses for their behaviors. Saul went on to say, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. But the people took the spoils and animals and brought them home.” “But the people did it”? The people were obeying their King. Samuel didn’t put up with Saul’s nonsense for a minute and neither did God. God was angry that King Saul disobeyed him, and regretted making him king (vs. 11). He stripped Saul of his title as a punishment, because he could not trust Saul to do what God told him to do. When Samuel confronted Saul, the king told him he did obey the command of the Lord.
The best thing you can do when you don’t trust your kids to obey is do what God did through Samuel. Hold your kids responsible in a life changing way that will bring about a changed heart. Too many times it is easier for parents to see the disobedience in their kids or hear their bad attitude and let it go. But for a child to keep getting away with something is the start of resetting the standard of right and wrong so that your standard of what is right becomes wrong or inconsequential to the child.
So how do you hold them accountable? Follow God’s lead. He took away the freedoms that came with being the King when He had Samuel strip Saul of that title. If you can’t trust your kids to obey you immediately, completely, without challenge and without complaining, then why do they have so many freedoms? When looking at your kids’ freedoms, look at the things they get to choose to do or don’t ask permission to do. Find out more on this in the Two Part Mom’s Notes presentations “Understanding Freedoms, Pt. 1” and “Understanding Freedoms, Pt. 2” available on MP3, PDF, CD and written Notes.
We encourage you as Galatians 6:9 says,
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”