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Teach Your Toddler That They Are Under Authority (by Stephen Simpson)

What is the most important thing that you need to teach your children when they are toddlers?  In his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp states it clearly:

The most important lesson for the child to learn in this period is that he is an individual under authority. (p. 129)

When I read that, I had one of those moments where I learned something that I should have already known and the fact that I didn’t already know it made me feel pretty dumb.  I had simply thought that my primary objective with my toddlers was to get them to obey. 

Obedience is fine and well.  But, obedience is simply a result of properly teaching our primary objective. Our primary objective is to teach our toddlers that they are under authority.  God has placed me in a position of authority over my children. 

Our children also need to learn that they will be under authority all of their lives.  There will always be some authority that they must interact with.  It may be a teacher, a coach, a police officer, a local church, the IRS, or a boss.  Regardless of who it is, our children must learn how to live ‘under authority.’

Submission to earthly authority is a specific application of being a creature under God’s authority.  (p. 130)

Did you catch that?  Maybe you should go back and read that quote again.  I believe this even applies to adults.  How we submit to earthly authority reveals how we submit to God’s authority.  Sadly, there are too many adults that cannot deal properly with authority.  No one taught them that they are under authority.  They think that they are their own authority.  They are in for a rude awakening. 

Do your children a favor.  Teach them that they are under authority.

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