It was snowing heavily and blowing to the point that visibility was almost zero after the mom picked up her young daughter from daycare. She made her way to her car and wondered how she was going to make it home.
She saw a snowplow go by and decided to follow it. That way she would not get stuck in a snow drift.
After an hour had passed, she was somewhat surprised when the snowplow stopped and the driver got out and came back to her car and signaled for her to roll down her window. The snowplow driver wanted to know if she was all right as she had been following him for a long time. She said that she was fine and told him of her desire to not get stuck in a blizzard.
The driver replied that it was ok with him and she could continue if she wanted, but he was done with the Wal-Mart parking lot and was going over to Sears next.
We laugh, but how often we ask our child to follow us “blindly”?
We don’t tell him what the final goal is – or what outcome we want to see in his behavior. He doesn’t see where the snowplow is going. We just tell him. “Pick up your stuff.” And when he asks, “Why?” we answer, “Because I said so.”
But a child needs to understand where we are leading him. His heart has to be in the right place as well as his actions. A clearer statement would be, “I need you to pick up your things from the family room because this room belongs to the whole family and we respect the right everyone has in the family to have a clean space.”
Giving our child the reason why we are expecting good behavior will help him follow through because he will see the bigger picture. If we continually demand obedience without explanation, our child will be doing the “right” action but his “heart” may not be obeying because he does not fully understand.