Thursday, November 11, 2010

How We Obey--Cheerfully

In our home, I strive to train my children to obey quickly, cheerfully, and completely.
I spoke about obeying quickly here.

Let's talk about obeying cheerfully.

This is a hard one for me.  The children don't always obey cheerfully, trust me!  I forget to follow through on making them respond cheerfully--which may or may not be related to me forgetting to ask nicely.

Then, I read the Duggar family's book.

I promise you--whether you have two kids or twenty, you can glean something from this book.  It is not merely a "this is how I clean a lot toilets because I have a lot of kids" type of book.  There is an element of that, of course, but more-so about laundry and cooking.

I gleaned several child-training gems from this book.   
One in particular is "Yes, ma'am, I'd be happy to."

Oooooh, I love this one!
In order to teach it, you have to make it fun.
The way Mr. and Mrs. Duggar do so is to line up the younger ones and play a sort of "Simon Says" game.  For example, you say, "Andrew, touch your head with your right hand."
He says, "Yes, ma'am, I'd be happy to." and touches his head with his right hand.

For a littler one, you may say, "Elijah, jump two times."
He needs to say, "Yes, ma'am, I'd be happy to." and then do what you asked him to do.

When you start with these silly kinds of things, you are laying the ground work for bigger things.
Once everyone has the idea down of responding to Mom in this way when she asks for something to be done, you move on to "Christopher, please pick up the blocks and put them in the box."
He needs to say, "Yes, ma'am, I'd be happy to." then do it and come back to you as quickly as he can.

To be honest, the novelty of this waxes and wanes.  
Sometimes, my children's response isn't very convincing.
When this happens, it's an opportunity for me to get down on their level and remind them of how they're supposed to respond.  It's also an opportunity for me to make sure my heart is right in the way that I have asked them.

Mom and Dad can carry this over into their interactions with each other and with the children, too. 
Mom asks Dad for a hand with the groceries, he can say, "Yes, dear, I'd be happy to."  (wouldn't that be great???)

Dad asks Mom to make him a sandwich on his way out the door to a meeting, she can say, "Sure, honey, I'd be happy to."  (This certainly sounds better than "Are you kidding me?  Can't you see I'm _______?)

When a child asks for your help, you can respond in this way, too.
"Mom, can you help me with number 4 on my math?"
"Sure, honey, I'd be happy to." would create a much better environment than "Seriously?  You're only on NUMBER FOUR?????!!!"

I've heard it said that Mom sets the tone for the home.
I know this to be true--because I have seen it play out here in our house many times.
Even though I know this to be true, I fail miserably and often.

I'm making it my personal goal to really work on responding with "Yes, I'd be happy to."
'Cause those other responses up there-----  
Well, let's just say I didn't pull them out of thin air...


  1. :) I love reading your blog Melissa!

    Thanks for this reminder about character training and attitude.

  2. Melissa,
    Thank you for the sweet comment. I am LOVING this! I did order Sonlight Core 1 and we will be starting that next week. I'm excited to start and hopefully show Allison (8) that reading can be FUN! I was wondering if you split up the readings or do them back to back? Did you ever do core 1? Any pointers or words of wisdom?

  3. This is our first year doing any Sonlight and we are using Core 5. I'm a newbie with that one, too, Nicki!
    I know that one "rule" with Sonlight is to do it HOWEVER you need to do it to work for you! There is a great article in the Instructor's Guide about that.

  4. I love this! I gently remind my boys to obey cheerfully but it never occured to ME that *I* should do it as well. Thanks for the goal this *week*!
    Hey-gotta start small.

  5. Great idea Melissa...and your thought on the mom setting the tone in the family really resonated with me. Lately, I've been a bit short and crabby with everyone around here. :(

  6. Just found your blog this morning through some blog-hopping. I love this post-I love PRACTICAL ideas!


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