When I think about obedience* I recall how many times a day I expect my children to obey me. My 16-year-old son ought to do everything I ask immediately and quickly and my 5-year-old daughter should pick up her toys right away. Of course, things don’t go according to my expectations and sometimes nothing happens at all. In that case, I choose to get down near my daughter and together pick up the scattered toys. When I do this I notice that she responds more calmly and even with joy.
As we work with children at our Community Center one of our rules is to obey the first time. After that, consequences follow. This has been our strategy up to this point. However, this year we decided to alter our methodology and look beyond behaviors to discover what is behind disobedience, violence or other deviant actions. Our new priority as teachers is to instill positive qualities so that the children become responsible, pleasant and respectful.
For most of the children it’s hard to obey because obedience requires submission, following rules, and humbly accepting consequences. It’s hard for them to adopt this behavior because their instinct tells them to fight back, rebel and follow their own rules which give them a sense of safety.
Maxim and Dorin are two orphaned brothers who spent two years living on the streets and begging, but have been in our community trying to adapt for almost a year. Obedience is a huge challenge for them. They have learned to follow the rules of the street and survive. Instead of obedience, they often resort to violence and aggression.
At the beginning of each school year when the children’s program starts up again at the Community Center, we, (the staff) set out our expectations for each other with trust that they will be respected and obeyed.
In all of these processes, I am a disciple learning to listen to the children who come to the Community Center, to the children who are orphaned, to my community and to my own children. I am learning to listen to each person’s struggles, pain, desires and expectations. I’m learning to listen to words of encouragement and to listen even when the truth hurts. Through each of these voices I am learning to listen to/obey the Lord, to submit, to understand His will and to humble myself. The journey of obedience continues. May the Lord help us all!
Adriana was born in southern Moldova and grew up within the Soviet Union when Moldova was one of fifteen Soviet Republics. She lived and experienced this political system until 1990 when Moldova gained independence.
Adriana worked with American volunteers in the Peace Corps for twelve years which deeply influenced her personal development and worldview. She has a happy family with two children, a family which grew bigger in 2010 when she joined the WMF/La VIA community!
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*In Romanian the word for obedience, la ascultare, means both to listen to/to obey