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Other Authorities - Live life with your kids - Issue 105
June 12, 2009
Hi there! ....

My week:
How did you go with making prompt sheets for your home last week? (Referring to last week's newsletter.) I got two made to reflect our lessons on Tolerance (this month’s character study), I refreshed one on Orderliness which highlighted Flylady’s catchphrase “Hotspots”. Most significantly I typed up our routine (for Nomi, Daniel and myself), enlarged it over 3 pages, and laminated it. The kids have referred to this many times – it has helped them take responsibility for their time – they are a lot more aware that there is more to today than this moment!

This is why I like prompt sheets – they help you train your children, even when you are not present! They help the children to do the right thing when I am not there to remind them, when I am not there to be the standard. The sequence of training that is worth remembering is – to be taught, to be prompted, to know. We need to use this sequence in all areas of our life.

Live life with your kids!

The Other Authorities

I am sure that obedience is one of the significant traits that you work on in your home. For us is is one of the top three - obedience, self control and respect. Obedience means to carry out the directions and wishes of those who are responsible for me. (Character First)

One of the issues that was directed towards me, in the early years of our homeschooling was the ‘concern’ that our children would not respond to other adults, aka other authorities. This was not a concern about their character so much as a concern about their ability to recognise and their willingness to submit to different authorities.

Though I was uncertain about the truth of what they were saying, I tucked it away in my heart to ponder. I remember the day that it became apparent that this was something that needed to be intentionally taught.

Our local church had a time where the children came down to the front and heard a children’s talk/sermon, often presented by one of the mums. My children loved this time and were very quick to respond to questions and prompts. But they didn’t know how to ‘put up their hand’ and wait to be asked to respond. We didn’t do this at home. It was a social response that was unfamiliar to them. In a way, it was a respect towards the authority of that moment.

Since then I’ve been aware of all sorts of situations, both within homeschooling circles and out, where children need to be quick to respond to other authorities in their life.

  • Grandparents
  • Family friends
  • Shop Keepers
  • Club Leaders
  • Coaches

These are the adults in our children’s lives and at different times these people have authority over our children. Do our children recognise and acknowledge this authority? Do they obey, just as they do to your authority?

  • No arguing, complaining or negotiating
  • Happy responses, such as “Yes, Mrs…”
  • Act immediately
  • Complete the task

One of the aspects of this that we have brought to our children’s attention is that different authorities are different. They may voice their instructions differently, their standard may be different, their tone may be different but they are still the authority. Regardless of how the authority acts our child’s heart is always to be respectful and ready to obey.

As parents we must support other authorities in our children’s life. If our child disobeys, then we must support the consequences. We are familiar with the situation when a child plays one parent against the other, this is an attack on authority. The same situation arises when a child cries ‘foul’ to the parents against the other authority – it is an attack on authority and a challenge to our child’s heart concerning obedience. How we handle this situaiton will affect our child’s willingness to obey other authority in times to come.

Then Peter and the other apostle replied,
“We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5:29

Of course, there is always a way of escape. Just as God tells us to obey our authorities (our boss and the laws of the land are two such authorities) God gives us a way of escape by putting His authority over all else. We are first to obey God’s authority. This is also our children’s way of escape and we need to be intentional about instructing them in this aspect of obedience as well. We need to let them know that at no time do we expect them to obey an authority if it goes against the standard of the family, which is based on the standard of God’s Word. This is to be an area of instruction and training in our family; we need to talk to them and give them ideas of how to respectfully handle such a situation.

Obeying other authorities is an aspect of obedience that needs to be understood and practiced regardless of the age of our children – toddlers, young children and teenagers all need to respond appropriately to the authroity figures in their life. It is our responsibility as a parent to instruct them of this standard and to help them live it out.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life is a Resource for Education – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • A Homeschool Thought – Discussing homeschool issues

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