I am not linking to this with the intention of starting the debate about first-time obedience here on my blog. I have no problem with training our children with the expectation of first-time obedience. After all, I do not want to nag my boys to do something five times, or even for a half hour (like reminding them over and over again to get their socks and boots on so we could go for a walk this afternoon). They should obey the first time they are asked. In a perfect world, they always would.
But since we are not living in a perfect world, they will not always obey the first time they are asked. And they may likely meet with discipline. I say "may," because there may be a good reason why they didn't move like a little robot when asked, such as perhaps they were just finishing up a project and were planning on doing what Mom asked immediately when finished in just a minute. Harsh discipline in that instance may just be too harsh. That kind of harshness chronically can create bitter hearts.
What I really came away with from the post was to remember that in our child training and discipline, we need to avoid the anger that can result when we feel a need to control a child's behavior, and the harshness that can result from disciplining for lack of first-time obedience.
I also loved what she wrote about not disciplining boys for not behaving like mild-mannered girls. Outright disobedience is one thing, but harshly disciplining one's personality (which may be more loud and active) is another.
Good food for thought...
Here is an excerpt from the post:
"First, we must understand that all discipline should be focused on the heart–not the behavior. Over 800 times in scripture, God talks about the heart–Love the Lord with all of your heart. God searches to and fro for a heart that is completely his. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart... And yet I see many extroverts being disciplined for being louder and more talkative (not rebellion–a personality issue–or boys for being boys–moms who want them to behave like a little lady, etc.)...
And so, when we discipline our children, we must learn to look at their hearts. Is their heart rebellious? Are they being willful? Am I expecting too much for them–their age, their level of over-stimulation, the circumstances, their maturity level, their abilities? A child should not be punished for being exhausted, immature, a boy, or for making a mistake. I make mistakes all the time, again and again. And yet scripture teaches in the new testament and the old that maturity is as a result of training, time, growth, heart and will."--Sally Clarkson, I Take Joy.Another post that clarifies her position: http://www.itakejoy.com/part-2-of-the-mystery-of-discipline/