Obedient or Helpful?

You cannot help but hear excerpts of conversations when you are watching your children in activities.  Moms are social creatures and we like to talk amongst ourselves, I cannot deny that I do listen in when the conversation topic is of interest to me.   That is how many women have connected and united to form friendships.  Many times, it is because we have one dominant commonality, our children’s well-being.

The power, speed, and accuracy of information that can be exchanged between Moms is far more outreaching than any newspaper, article, television show or book.  That is why many companies are turning to Moms to spread the information.  *Remember the BPA issue** I found out about it way before the media & government informed the mass public of a recall.  I thank the Mom conversations for that.  I also was privy to seeing Behind the Scenes at McDonald’s by being a McMom.  Because I was a Mom I was honoured to see first-hand what REALLY happens and let’s just say, we busted most of those rumours for what they truly were , URBAN MYTHS.

McMom Vancouver aka My 15 Minutes of Fame

Many times I will trust a Mom’s opinion to help me make a final decision, after I have personally researched it to the best of my ability that is.  I also cannot deny the amazing power of  Mom’s Intuition, sometimes you must trust those nagging instincts.

And this is where I get to the point of this post.

I overheard something that got me thinking.  I overheard a mom state that she would rather have her daughter be obedient than helpful.  I had to listen further…

Instead of getting her shoes on, as Mom had told her to do, she got her sister a bowl of cereal.  This was the reason that they were late today.   She had told her daughter that by not listening, she was not being obedient and that “being obedient was always more important than being helpful”.  Even though she was being helpful, putting on shoes and getting her school things ready was more important.

All the Moms agreed that she should have gotten her shoes on.

It got me thinking.  Do I truly believe this?  Would I prefer my children to be more obedient than helpful?  It just seems to lack compassion, in the grander scheme of things.  Even though we are just talking about getting to school and gymnastics on time, could it be taken out of this context by the child on other issues?

If this little girl’s sister was hungry, she was aware enough to know that she could help by getting her a bowl of cereal.  I think I would have applauded Jackson for getting his sister some food because I hadn’t realized, during the hustle of the morning routine.  BUT I would also prefer my child to be obedient in the Danger Zone of shopping/grocery parking lots.  This truly was not so black and white.

I am not judging how other people raise their children, as I am not in that other person’s shoes.  We all have our priorities.  It just really peaked my interest and got me thinking.  Many of us were the perfect parent BEFORE we actually had children.  Hmm… how had my belief system changed since I had children?

I just wonder what beliefs you think are important to instill in your children.  How do you go about doing it in everyday life?  What happens when you know you have made a mistake or you slip as every human does?  How do you encourage the positive behaviours in your house?  How do you discipline the negative behaviours?






  1. Rachelle Loeppky says:

    In answer to one of your questions…how do we encourage good behaviors…

    We have a token system. The kids have a chance to earn poker chips which they can then “spend” toward a list of rewards. We have 3 behaviors that we reward and then a list of 5 more monthly specials that focus on 5 new behaviors each month that we would like to see the kids put into regular practice.

    The first three are:
    1. Listen the FIRST time you are asked to do something.
    2. Take care of a task without being asked.
    3.Show kindness to someone else.

    Then for instance we have this as our monthly specials:
    1. Show a positive attitude in school.
    2. Pick up all of the dishes/food/cups you use.
    3. Make sure you are properly dresses and tidy when we leave the house.
    4. Come when you are called.
    5. Show good manners at the table and when we go out.

    We do not reward EVERY good behavior but we reward consistently and I always try to do it immediately following the behavior. I will let the child know what they are receiving the token for and why I appreciate that behavior. Behaviors that are reinforced intermittently stick better over the long haul.

    The kids have made a list of a dozen or so “rewards” ranging in “value from 3 tokens to 40 tokens. The rewards are everything from “Mom or Dad does a chore for you” to “A trip to Toys r’ Us with $25.00”.

    The kids chose the rewards and I set the values. This can also encourage the kids to delay gratification and save toward something.

    The desired behaviors and the token lists are posted on the fridge for everyone to see. My sister and my cousin use the same systems so that even when the kids are over there for a sleepover or visit all of the same behaviors are rewarded and encouraged. It works really well.

    Just a thought…works really well for our three families and might work for yours too!

  2. Naomi Jesson says:

    Wow that is very well thought out Rachelle! I would love to hear more.

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