About 3 years ago, our small group read and studied through the book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. The book walks the reader through the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). While it was a fascinating and impactful study for our group, the title of the book has always stuck with me in regards to the endurance of discipleship in Christ and staying consistent in our lives:

A long obedience in the same direction

It also reminds me of parenting: a long obedience in the same direction. There are times when I want to deviate from being consistent in regard to discipline and expectations… you know, because it is easier.

It’s funny, sometimes staying consistent brings out some interesting effects on kids’ behavior. For example, Amanda told me the other day that Sari said “Sorry” as she hit Macie. Sari knows that we help them apologize and forgive after things like that, so she thought: “If I just say ‘sorry’ while I am hitting her then I won’t get in trouble.” Macie does the same thing, although a little differently. She’ll hit Sari, then she’ll try to hug her and say: “Sorry.”

Another thing that we are pretty consistent on is saying “okay” to Mom and Dad instead of “no.” I find it fascinating that they have learned to say “no” so easily. I think the girls have picked up on if they say “okay” that the “get out of jail free card.” It seems we praise them a lot when they say “okay” instead of “no.” A good thing, right?

Well, Macie does this currently (and Sari used to), but when she does something that warrants a 2-minute visit to time-out, as I am carrying her in to her room, she is screaming: “Okay! Okay! Okay! Okay!”

It’s during these interesting and humorous interactions with our kids that remind me that parenting is a “long obedience in the same direction.” It’s also really funny!!