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Are You Teaching Your Child to Yield?

Our daughter is 15. This summer she will get her learner’s permit and begin driving. I imagine we’ll have some bumps along the way as she practices. One of the big lessons is learning to identify the road signs and understand what each means.

Yielding is one I’ve observed to be confusing for many drivers, especially when merging with already-moving traffic. Most drivers come to a complete stop or barrel on in to the fast-paced cars.

But I’ve also noticed most of us struggle with yielding when we are not driving as well.  Paul writes in Philippians, “… but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b). Learning to yield is a vital part of humility. We yield to others when we lay aside our desires to encourage them in theirs, when we choose to place the best interests of another ahead of our own.

This is not something that comes naturally for the majority of us. We learn to yield to the Lord and to others. We want our way … and those of us who are parents have children who are just like us.

As parents, we have an additional responsibility to teach our children to yield. But how do we accomplish this task? When we teach our children to be obedient to us, we give them the opportunity to learn to yield to God. Teaching our children to yield is hard work.  I’ve heard it said we spend the first two years of their lives making them the center of the world and the next sixteen trying to undo that perception.

My parents were very young when they had me – like seniors in high school young. I imagine they’d readily admit they had no clue how to parent me and my two younger brothers, all born by the time they were twenty. I don’t remember a lot of rules growing up. But I do remember the expectation that we would obey.

I have often told my daughter there is only one rule she has to remember: “obey.” Scripture says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” (Ephesians 6:1).

One of the greatest lessons of obedience is learning to yield. When I tell my daughter to clean her room, she is learning to submit her desire to watch TV to my expectation of her obedience.

Isn’t that what being a disciple is all about?  Learning to submit our desires to the expectation of Christ?

We live in a world that doesn’t demand or even generally expect children to obey. But when we teach our children to be obedient, we are giving them the opportunity to learn to yield to God. What a precious legacy to offer them!

How are you teaching your children to yield to the Lord?