I am not sure that I have ever truly understood the power of words like I have come to as a parent. Over the last two years we have been training Isabelle on a few key words to help her develop “habits of the heart”. We have been learning some amazing stuff through the parenting class, Growing Kids God’s Way, that we offer at Seacoast Church. I thank my friend’s Mr. and Mrs. Ezzo, for so much wisdom.
Obedience. Big word for a two-year old, but she needs to know what it means.
One way that we work on teaching Isabelle what obedience looks like, ultimately shaping her knowledge of the word towards God, is by expecting first time obedience.
When Isabelle was about 15 months old we started working on having her responding to us with “Yes Mommy” or “Yes Daddy” anytime we gave her a instruction or command. Not just “yes” or even “yes ma’am or sir”, but a very specific “yes mommy”.
Using these exact words this was an acknowledgement of the fact that she heard and was aware that there was an expectation of obedience. This certainly did not happen overnight, but with just a little prodding we get a “Yes Mommy” or “Yes Daddy” about 90% of the time now.
Our next step was to get a “Yes Mommy Coming” or “Yes Daddy Coming” anytime we call her from anywhere in the house or at a store or a Park. You get the picture.
We started this about six months ago and a couple of days ago it dawned on me that about four times during the afternoon and night I had said, “Isabelle” from somewhere in the house and that this little two-year old had run to me saying, “Yes Daddy coming!” In fact I would say we get a “Yes Mommy coming” about 75% of the time with no prodding and about 99% of the time with just a little nudge.
This first time obedience started with the training of what words mean.
I tell this story because it illustrates something that I think we have lost the art of in this new world. Words
I think we have a responsibility as leaders and for some pastors to teach words and model what they mean.
My friend Steven Furtick once told his church that in order to watch MSNBC you would have to learn some of the jargon and the words to understand and no one would apologize, but that sometimes in the church we shy away from words that really mean things. I agree.
Words are amazing.