If Only They Were Perfect — If Only WE Were!

Toothbrush, photo taken in Sweden

If a child is non-compliant on purpose, he needs far more than another reminder.

This is the hardest part: Requiring.

Children do not automatically walk in goodness, contrary to popular opinion. Some want to stay in bed in the morning. Some want to skip brushing their teeth. Some want to play during chore time. Dogs eat a lot of homework.

We know it is better for them if they have good sleep, health, and work habits. Our good plans for them mustΒ cross their wills.

That is why God put them in homes with parents. Parents can place requirements on children for their own good. This is common knowledge in all cultures, except the current permissive. People who follow the original ways of requiring children to act sensibly, have produced sensible offspring.

Stating the obvious is necessary, these days.

I believe my children will always practice brushing their teeth daily, because they are accustomed to having white, clean-feeling teeth, so brown, fuzzy teeth bother them. The same is true for bathing, eating healthful foods, and Bible reading.

Oh, they may experiment with departure from the absolute best, but they also will sense a difference, a loss, and choose the right way. For instance, my daughter became a ramen junkie during college, but the other day she said, “You know, I am just starving for a good, crisp salad.”


They were not born this way. We required it of them.

The child who habitually eats cake and cola will not sense the ill feeling from it in adulthood.

The child who habitually reads everything but the Word will not miss the Word as an adult.

The difference between those generalities is most usually the differing requirements they faced as children.

Who wants to raise a loud, interrupting, unhealthy, illiterate adult with crumbling teeth and no knowledge of the sacred?

Draw your lines.



And require your children to heed.

Help them have the excellent gift of good habits.


photo credit: wikipedia

Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

18 thoughts on “If Only They Were Perfect — If Only WE Were!

  1. This was very well stated, thank you. I’ve heard so many parents say “I want my child to behave; I want them to listen.” I want to ask, “Do you require them to behave? Do you require them to listen?” But I dare not as I am not a parent, so feel I am not in the place to advise. This post speaks perfectly to that, what I always have in my head!

    I can attest to the difficulties the adult will have if not properly trained as a child. I was not. When I began to eat in a more healthy way (beginning of my marriage!), it was a struggle as I craved those bad foods. Now, I can tell when I’ve been eating poorly… my body reminds me. As I am learning to get more exercise, I have begun to crave it actually and notice when I don’t get it. I can’t believe I lived in such a slothful state for so long.

    I am essentially having to train myself, as I will eventually train our children (God willing), and it is not easy! I SO wish my parents had been more diligent, but I cannot alter the past, only my future. And I am trying. Not always my best, not always giving 100% as I should, but learning more and more each day.

    1. Thanks so much, Victoria, for this revealing comment! I do know how you feel, as I suffered some of the same ways.
      One thing I have learned: Once we give our lives over to our heavenly Father, He does the teaching, repeating, reminding, and yes, the requiring. All we have to do is be careful to learn what He wants, and listen to His still, small, reminding voice . . . and obey it.
      The glory of all that is that He even can change our β€œwannas” so we actually WANT to do life right. Those who do not have His strength, strenghtening their backbones, cannot see this, and think we are just goody-goodies, but actually, we labor under sometimes stern commands.
      How easy, though, when it is a labor of love! How easy when He supplies the strength! πŸ™‚

  2. I’ll never forget the time in Wal-Mart that a woman ahead of me in the checkout line complimented me on the behavior of my children – then ages 7, 6, 5, & 3. She asked me how I did it, because she could never bring her young children ANYWHERE. They were SO IMPOSSIBLE.

    I asked her: “Do you really want to know?”

    “Yes,” she replied.

    “I bring them with me nearly everywhere. I don’t believe children can learn how to behave in the store, unless they are in the store regularly.” I said it with fear and trembling, knowing the MANY FAILINGS my children and I have had in public – because they are SO IMPOSSIBLE sometimes. I said it as kindly as I could.

    She just looked at me with wide eyes, turned away, and didn’t speak again. My children and I are FAR from perfect, but when all is said and done, they’re a decent little tribe, and are usually trying very hard to obey the rules (which I make them tell me in the car before we even unbuckle and get out).

    I agree so wholeheartedly with this post, and it’s HARD to instill good habits. I’ve learned that practicing them myself is the best way to require them from my kids. If I’m not willing to comply with a good habit, I have no right to expect them to. I’ve chosen the “hard way,” but that’s what was modeled for me.

    Anyway…thanks for this. πŸ™‚

    1. The hard way. Yep. But also the easy way, when compared to the rest of the ways. It’s hard going at first, but it pays off later, it’s always SO worth it. Get it straight in the beginning and then rest.
      Children do not do well unless we require it. But requiring comes after teaching, repeating, and reminding. Hafta go to Wal-Mart to learn how to mind in Wal-Mart. πŸ˜‰
      Your comment reminds me: You shall teach them when you walk in the way . . .
      I think a lot has to do with putting the kids first, before watching the sitcom or talking on the phone or shopping. It has to be that if they want to be reminded again, then we want to remind again, teach again, repeat again, require again.
      With diligence and consistency. They finally figure it out — it will go the right way or it will stop.
      Then they relax and join us in going the right way. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for this comment, Edie! So few people agree with punishment as a part of the training of children, which is why laboratory rats are more useful than most children are, these days. πŸ˜‰
      The strong sense of confidence, alone, is worth a bit of punishment!
      Thanks, again. πŸ™‚

  3. Requiring..oh so aptly put, Katharine!! You bet we must require it. As I have said to other parents on more than one occasion, “do you want the first time your child is told ‘no’ to be when your child has his/her first job”? and when he/she is told “no” how will he know it is SO NOT OK to sass, swear, threaten, damage property or refuse to comply? ” Yep, we must require them to do the right thing. Granted, they might still disobey/rebel~which is where discipline/consequences/punishments come in. Great post, Kath ❀

    1. Thanks, Dearie!
      I’m going to do a post on punishment, someday, because I think I forgot some things. πŸ˜‰ But you are so right about the work force! Very few employers will tolerate even a little insubordination, and people don’t stop that kind of behavior just because they walk through the doors of a business.
      Glad you like this and THANKS for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      1. Children have to be taught (through experience and by example) how to deal with frustration, failure, limitations, rules, and “no”. Heavens we do them a disservice if they come to believe they only have to respect a rule if they agree with it and are in the mood to follow it. Their future coping skills depend on proper guidance. Gosh you are wise.

        1. It is very true that we do them disservice when we neglect their rigid training. They become lazy in every way, if we let them. Going the “wise” way is really just common sense in action. If only . . .

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