Here’s a project you can do with your kids to help them become “obedience-conscious.” It’s sort of a game, but it’s a good way to prime your kids to think in terms of obeying, as we like to say, “immediately, cheerfully and thoroughly.”
You’ll find this activity included in our book Hand-On Character Building
Explain to your children that you have a big challenge for them and that if they do it well, you’ll give them a treat. That will get their attention. Then, go out in the yard (weather permitting, of course!) and have them line up facing the same direction. Start calling out instructions to do things such as walk forward together, stop, walk backward, run backward, lie down, flip over, flip back, jump up, about face, etc. We used to have our kids doing everything from jumping in circles to crab-walking across the yard.
This can get really funny as the kids get the hang of it and you start calling out the commands faster. When they’re in the process of running backward and you call out the order to lie down, then flip over, then do a pushup all in one breath, the result can get pretty hilarious.
Remember to keep the sessions short. You want to make sure the children never get tired of the game before you end it. If they all beg for more, you may want to continue just a little longer, but remember there are only two times to end an activity—before they get tired of it or after.
Any unwillingness to stop the game may be curtailed by the announcement that it’s time for the treat. Hopefully, your children will all look forward to the next obedience exercise.
The same principle is useful in other situations. It can be used to make chores less boring. For instance: “Nathan, I need you to take these clothes down to the laundry room. Walk backwards all the way down and back. And let’s see if you can keep your left eye closed the whole time.”
A little creativity and a little training can go a long way.