Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Hearts?

I have a friend whose family motto is, "All the way, right away, and with a happy heart."
I loved it when I heard it, which was at a time I was already thinking about obedience. I was not satisfied with the grudging, delayed obedience I was getting from my kids.
All the way? I can manage that. Right away? Also doable. But with a happy heart? There's the kicker. How do you teach a happy heart? "You better do this cheerfully or else..." I don't think so. My only conclusion was that it is by example. Groan. Familiar feelings of guilt and inadequacy resurface.
Soon after this epiphany, my mother-in-law gave me a Mary Engelbreit notepad with this quote: "Plant seeds of kindness and harvest happy hearts." Granted, it is a little simplistic and rosy-sounding, but, really, doesn't that jive with what I had figured out?
My bottom line is this: Outward obedience can (and should) be enforced. But the part that really matters, the "heart" part, cannot be taught without example.  If not cheerful, I should be joyful in dealing with my kids even when my tasks are unpleasant.
Today I feel like we are making baby steps in the right direction. Yesterday I would have said it is hopeless. Tomorrow may bring another valley. I pray I can be an example of happy obedience and that God blesses the hearts of my kids to realize the joy in cheerful obedience.

Shared with MOB Society.


AMAY said...

What a great thought, and very condemning to me. At the same time it gives me hope that there is a way to teach my children cheerful obedience, IF I can discipline myself.

Jenny said...

The book is called "Don't make me count to three!" Author Ginger Plowman
A verse out ofthe book Phillipans 2:14
Another quote "delayed obedience is disobedience. It all starts in the mother's heart. Anna you are an awesome writer!

AIMA said...

Thanks, Jenny. I will definitely be looking up that book. We listen to a Patch the Pirate song with the words, "To delay is to disobey." We quote that often. :-)