top of page

Vision, Authority, Correction, Obedience: Absolutely Essential

Updated: May 3

When I was in elementary school, I watched as my oldest sister rejected all the things that gave me a sense of security: my parents, the church, her education, and all the ways of living and behaving that most of us had engaged in for decades.

I also watched the effect this had on my parents: frustration, confusion, and deep pain. I resolved to somehow figure out what had happened with my sister, so that if I were ever to have children I could somehow keep from experiencing the same thing. But figuring it out wasn't easy.

What would make a child reject what her parents stood for?

The answer I came up with was that, 1) somehow my sister had not internalized the things that really matter in life; maybe simply living what you believe (as my parents had done) was somehow not enough; and 2) at some point, somehow, outside influences had taken the place of the family in her affections and imagination.

So how could I do things differently?

Frankly, just getting beyond the often grueling years of infancy and toddlerhood was the first hurdle. Although these years were filled with lots of joy and fun, they were intense; no parent would deny that young children bring exhaustion along with joy and fun and deep satisfaction.

Even in those very early years, however, it became clear that I would need much more than a really strong feeling of love for my kids; I'd have to be willing to sacrifice the kind of autonomous freedom I'd had before kids.

The thing that kept me doing what needed to be done was vision. I had that image of my sister's life to urge me on, and to help me imagine a different outcome for my kids. I had to keep reminding myself of what I was working towards, what I wanted for my children, and that the temporary pain was a small price to pay.

I wanted them to be real humans, not living on the surface of things, but deeply involved in pursuing good and beautiful things, filled with a love of learning, willing to acknowledge their own flaws, willing to take responsibility and work hard for things that really matter, deeply invested in their family and community. That was my vision.

In their natural state they were at the mercy of their own impulses, which could basically be boiled down to self-centeredness--which just means they were perfectly normal kids in need of civilizing.

This wasn't going to happen on its own--I would need to initiate the change, and I soon learned that to do that I would need authority. At first I didn't know what that meant, didn't know I already had authority, from God, by virtue of the fact that I was their mother.

As I stepped into that authority it didn't mean becoming a dictator, it simply meant realizing I had a tool, with the responsibility to use it to lead my children. Using authority looks like standing in front, saying "we're doing it this way, not that way."

I set the path, and kept them on it by using correction, which simply means to halt forward progress in the wrong direction and get back on track (think of when you start to veer into the wrong lane; you "correct" your car.)

And although the concept of obedience has often been associated with subservience to tyranny, a more correct meaning suggests compliance with the demands and expectations of legitimate authority--like when the teacher says, "Turn to p. 65 and do problems 1-15", or when your boss tells you a task is due by Friday; complying with these demands isn't being subservient, it's simple obedience.

This is how we began living, with mom and dad in charge, setting the tone, setting the agenda with a view to helping them learn to manage their emotions and put aside their preferences in order to follow where we led.

Even though I wasn't a natural leader, every day I stepped into my authority, and provided leadership to my children, keeping them on a path that would lead, not to a specific school or career or mate, but to their being able to find the way once they left home.

parents walking with three peaceful children in woods.

If you don't have a vision, get one; that link will take you to a questionnaire (The Parenting Goals Assessment) to help you sort out what matters most to you and make sure your daily routines are consistent with those things.

If you aren't sure about your authority and how to stand in it, or if you need help with training your children or teaching them to obey, visit my website for more resources, book a Discovery Call for personal coaching, and follow me on this blog by clicking the subscribe button below and to the right of this post.

You need vision to keep moving forward, an understanding of your authority for the confidence to lead, and a commitment to consistent correction to keep your kids on the path towards your goal, which must include obedience.

You can do this! Be excited for what the future holds for you and your children!


bottom of page