I can't stress enough how important it is to teach our kids obedience. With some children, the task is amazingly simple. They are born with a desire to please. To be honest, I'm not sure what that's like! As for me, I have two wonderful, strong-willed children. Sarah, my oldest, is very strong-willed (and she's very smart which makes it tougher). Ashton, our 1 year old is starting to show signs of a strong will. Thankfully, it's not as pronounced as Sarah's!
This weekend, Daniel and I had to teach Sarah a hard lesson. We had a fun-filled weekend planned out for her. Friday night we were going to surprise her with dinner in Anderson and a trip to see the Christmas lights and Santa. Then on Saturday, she was to have another surprise - a trip to Roper Mountains Reptile Show. She loves snakes, so this would have been a big deal.
Anyway, Saturday morning rolls around and Sarah decided that she wasn't going to any surprise if she didn't know what it was in advance. She refused to get ready until we told her. Daniel and I looked at each other and nodded. I told Sarah that if she didn't get her act together then we would stay home. Obviously, I've been a little lax or something because she didn't believe me. She went on and Daniel and I told her we were staying home. We told her our plan was to go to the reptile show but because she chose not to listen then we would be staying home. I don't know how else to describe it, but Sarah flipped out. She was very upset that we wouldn't change our minds about going to the show because she apologized. It's always funny how sorry kids get when they lose something for poor behavior. Then when she realized that we accepted her apology but were not changing the decision to stay home - well let's just say more theatrics occurred.
Sometimes being a parent is exhausting. Saturday was no exception. But, after she calmed down and thought about it, she came out with a real apology and started helping around the house. Her attitude was completely different. Changing our children's hearts sometimes involves making hard choices and not letting them do things that they would enjoy. We have to give them firm and identifiable boundaries even when it's not easy.