The Habit of Obedience

Amy and Leah discuss M. MacEacharn's article about obedience. We have transcribed and recorded the article from, which you can find here.

“There are sentimentalists who argue that we have no right to demand obedience from the child, so that he may learn to command himself. There has even been a book written by an American lady advocating these ideas, but however much we fail in exacting obedience from children, few of us in possession of well-balanced minds would acknowledge the wisdom of them. It is hardly advisable to invert domestic life, for if the child does not obey parents, they must obey the child, as in an ordinary household they cannot easily act independently of one another. We must live in obedience to something.” M. MacEacharn, Parent's Review, volume 13, number 3.

(2:04) The opening quote touches upon something we've talked about before: authority. Someone has to be in charge. 

(3:04) Our homes are not democracies. Picture the king and queen benevolently ruling over their kingdom. 

(3:46) It is really not possible for parents and children to co-rule. 

(5:08) "He must learn to obey clear and definite words before he can obey abstract ideals." 

(6:05) How do you help a very young child obey? Be prepared to physically be on the move! Be prepared to follow through. 

(8:10) Don't say the word, "Don't." In order to be concrete, tell your child what you want them to do instead of what you do want them to do. 

(10:00) "One frequent cause of disobedience is the undue nervousness of mothers, which often prevents children having the necessary outlet to energy and spirits. Many mothers see and imagine dangers everywhere and are so afraid of possible catastrophes, and hedge children in with so many precautions, preventions and prohibitions, that the temptation to disobey becomes overwhelmingly strong, or else, the children become as over-cautious and nervous as their mothers themselves."

(14:40) Recognize your own limits and boundaries to help subdue the chaos in your home. 

(16:00) Our kids pick up social skills from us. 

(17:07)  “It is a small matter, but this kind of thing occurring all day long is what makes life with children difficult and exhausting. Moreover, it wastes a great deal of time. Obedience, in spirit and in letter, is the only soil in which the educator can delve with any profit whatsoever.”

(17:30) There are lots of theories as to why modern parenting is so exhausting. 

(19:20) Engaging in a battle of wills is exhausting! 

(19:45) It's a long process of showing our kids that we're going to follow through with what we say. If we aren't used to that, we're going to have low stamina. 

(27:12) Permissive parenting is everywhere right now! 

(28:35) “The love that encircles a child should not be of the idolising kind if we wish him to have a healthy attitude towards life…”

(32:55) Family culture will help our children develop a sense of identity and the understanding of what we stand for. 

Show Notes

We've used affiliate links to share great books with you. You can read more about these links in our policies.  

Listen to the M. MacEachern article, as read by Amy, or read it, as transcribed by Leah, here.

The Collapse of Parenting by Dr. Leonard Sax (affiliate link) 

3 thoughts on “The Habit of Obedience”

  1. I enjoyed listening to the Habit of Obedience podcast on a recent road trip. Thank y’all so much for your experience and insight. I took lots away from it! One thing I wanted to encourage, because I didn’t hear it mentioned, is that, despite what our culture throws at us, there are gender differences. God made male and female and they are equal, yet different (like crayons!). I learned many things from the book ‘Wild at Heart: the art of nurturing boys’ by Dave Thomas (other author I’ve forgotten)! It’s so helpful as a female mama with two sons to read things from a males perspective on boys! The insight is such a resource! I now also have a precious daughter and am so thankful to have the opportunity to raise her a godly woman and all of the beauties that entails.

    Thanks so much for listening! I appreciate your information!!
    Dusty Cannon

    1. That is such a great point, Dusty! I have to admit I can forget about that having three boys and no girls!

  2. Pingback: Habit Training Truths – Thinking Love

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