To obey is to do what you're told cheerfully, completely and immediately. This is what I've tried to teach my kids. I haven't taught it well.
My first problem is consistency. Somewhere along the way, the kids were doing well enough that I slacked up in my expectations and follow-through. The result is that little things that weren't ok, but weren't a "big" deal began to be part of our lives. The "humphs" and angry eyebrows turned into slightly more emphatic footsteps that grew into outright stomps.
Suddenly, I'm aware of wrong behavior, but instead of being sad. I was angry. How dare they act like this?--without even realizing that I've allowed this behavior. How dare they interrupt my day with this foolishness?
The other problem is that I don't model cheerfully, completely and immediately very well.
Cheerfully? When confronted with a task that I don't want to do (like disciplining my sweet angels) I am not particularly cheerful. In fact, I can be downright unpleasant.
Immediately? It's more like, at the last possible minute. The more unpleasant a task is the longer I put it off.
Completely? Often, it's just enough to get by.
I do not want to slide through my parenting or my life. I want to be consistently, cheerfully, completely and immediately faithful to my Lord, my husband and my kids.
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Ephesians 6:7 & 8