Posted by: mamaamy | April 28, 2008

Obedience Brings Joy

One of the standards of the Cowart household is Obedience. (This is also one of the highest ideals of the Kingdom of God–what Christ told us to seek first.) The buzz phrase that we use in our household is “Obedience brings joy.” One of the verses that talks about this concept in the Bible is in Hebrews 12:2 where is says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross (obedience), scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” When we speak with our kids about obedience bringing joy, we talk about how the result of obedience–joy, affects not only the one being obedient but also all those around (just as the obedience of Christ brought joy to more than just himself.)

The original purpose of this blog was to archive some of the discussions that we have had over the years (see Living with Intention: An Introduction) that they might be accessed, passed around, and referred to by a specific audience as needed. It was never meant to document our entire life, promote our life choices, or reflect the fullness of life as a Christian. A lot of what is written is about our processing the things that we are learning in relationship to God, and documenting some of the experience that we have. The things I write about may seem tough, serious, intense, but those who really know us and our family see all aspects of our life–the humor, the joy, and the fun stuff continually going on here. What I am seeing is that there are more people reading this than the originally intended audience–many that don’t know us well, if at all. Lately, I have had an old friend (who has only briefly been introduced to my family) suggest that I add some lighter bits and pieces to help balance the serious stuff out for the sake of those that don’t know us. I think this is a great suggestion.

It may also be valuable to share this as a way to illustrate the truth that “Obedience brings joy.” If we wouldn’t have trained our children in obedience, it would not have been possible for us to take eight children to all the places we have been. We are able to go out to fine restaurants, stay in fancy hotels, camp out in the woods, travel in a van for days, stay at people’s homes without their need to put away their fancy things, go to bike races where there are crowds of people, etc, etc. We have been able to have so many fun experiences and during those experiences we have all been partakers of the joy of their obedience: Mitch and I do, the other kids do, and the other people we are in contact do also. Training our children in obedience has proven so worthwhile!

Last summer Mitch and I had some available funds to use as we chose. We had really considered landscaping the dusty desert around our home. As we thought more and more about it we became more aware that the teenager in our midst was ready for more challenge and that we needed opportunities for fine tuning his character and raising him into manhood. We felt that our financial investment in this training was more important than having a nice yard, so we chose to help Matthan live out a “dream” of being a downhill bike racer. We felt it would give him opportunities to test his skills, it would give us all opportunities to be around a more varied group of people (we are rather isolated out in the country), it would bring up new opportunities to reiterate our teaching and training in obedience and strength of character, and it would be a really fun time for us as a family. Consequently, we spent the summer traveling to all the Mountain States Cup Series races in CO and NM. It ended up being a successful summer in every way.

Mitch and our 14 year old son, who is interested in video production, put together a video about the racing that Mitch, our 16 year old, and our 12 year old did during the race series.

The rest of us were with them as the support crew: setting up camp, cooking and cheering. It was a great time for all of us. Here are some photos of the rest of us at the races.

Mama Amy



  1. hi fellow “trainers” I don’t know if you’re reading comments much, but I have a question that I’m sure lots of other parents have, too…
    When do you start the training with very little ones? I’ve got a 14 month old and I can see defiance in his little eyes sometimes, and he often throws himself on the floor like a classic “tantrum.” Do you switch up a baby? (That’s what my big kids call it, “switching up!”) He barely bats an eyelash with thumping on the hand, seems tougher than my other two were at his age! How do you train a baby who doesn’t understand much to “cry quietly” or not to screech for everything he wants even though he doesn’t know any words yet…
    okay, so maybe that was more like 5 questions…

  2. A response is in the works…

  3. Decide that for good of your child, disobedience is never cute or funny. If they’re being rotten and you laugh, you and your child are the loser for it. Upgrade what you think is funny. Disobedience is not funny, hitting is not funny….etc.

    With our little ones we used a simple rule. If they know what they’re doing…and what they are doing is not appropriate…just make sure it doesn’t work for them…meaning the behavior will not result in them getting what they want in ANY way.

    If pointing and screeching gets them what they want at the table (for instance)…then in their minds it works…and you’ve made it work for them. Pointing and screeching should gain them nothing.

    If they’re old enough to speak, we would play dumb, and say, “i can’t understand you voice” What did you say? I can’t understand you when you yell. I can’t understand your whiney voice. It’s shocking how they can turn it on and shut it off if they need to.

    And then you simply do NOT give them what they’re crying for until they ask you like an age appropriate human being. You’ll feel the change when they “give in” to your demand. (but you’re not demanding, your just teaching them that that method of communication is not very effective if the want something)

    When the straighten up and ask you, act relieved that you can understand them and then go on as if nothing unusual has happened, (just know something significant did happen.)

    If they throw themselves down for a fit, get down there with them and encourage them to have a good one. “Say that was a pretty good fall, how did it feel.” You might want to “kick some more.” “Surely you can do better than that” Then (once again) be sure it gains them nothing.

    They are smart little rascals and they’ll do what works, so you be sure you choose what will work for them…and they’ll adjust to what works.

    You especially have to prove to him that the rules are the same EVERYWHERE. That means at home, at church, at school, etc. If you have to remove your child from a room (or church) because he’s throwing a fit, make sure he doesn’t like it. I’m not talking about spanking, but your time away from others can’t become play time or run around with daddy outside church time. It’s time out for the both of you. You sit, you hold, you leave the toys inside, not fun. You don’t dare let it be fun. It needs to seem better to go back in than be out.

    Finally, catch them being good and encourage it.

    Learn what motivates them and use it to your advantage as a parent (and their advantage as developing people).

    take care.

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