Establish Your Authority
by Drenda Keesee
I believe it’s better to be on the stricter side (with lots of love) than be too lenient (which usually is accompanied by lack of attention for the child). The reason I say that is because even in what some would call strict environments, at least the children are learning respect for authority. If they have respect for authority, they are teachable. However, a child that doesn’t respect authority can’t be mentored. They will lie and justify their way out of training.
The first thing you want to teach your child is to respect your authority. If your children don’t respect your authority, they won’t respect God’s authority. You must show them that you care deeply for their well-being, and it is your God-given job to teach them right from wrong. They must understand you are in charge, and that you have a God mandate to bring them up under subjection to authority and the Word of God. You can’t train a child who doesn’t respect you. Respect is a result of being lovingly consistent and following through with what you say. Otherwise, you’ll say the words, but they won’t listen because you have never established your place of authority.
Discipline and structure are not wrong or abusive when carried out alongside love. When Gary or I had to discipline our children, we always first explained why. We would say, “I must discipline you because you chose to disobey what I said.” Afterward, we gave them a hug and told them how much we loved them and didn’t want bad choices to bring them bad consequences in their life. Th at put discipline in perspective for them. Th en they understood that we had to discipline them because we loved them too much to let them disobey. Remember the agape form of love and communication discussed in chapter six? It applies here, too.
I hear parents telling me often, “My kids fight all day long and it’s driving me crazy!” Inevitably an argument will erupt between siblings, but it must be dealt with or it will create an environment of chaos in your home. Whenever our kids got into disagreements with one another, we talked it out with them, and it always ended with them giving one another hugs and telling their sibling, “I love you.” Sometimes it required one (or both) saying, “I’m sorry,” and the other saying, “I forgive you,” training them early on to apologize and forgive. Th is was also a lesson in humility, and to avoid being thus humbled, my children rarely got into heated arguments. Sure, they would pester one another, but we did not tolerate yelling or strife—ever. You must remember that you are creating a culture in your home by what you tolerate and what you demonstrate. Remind your children how much you love them and how much they need to love one another.
I get calls from moms in tears saying, “My two-year-old is driving me nuts. I can’t do this anymore.” If you’re an adult, how is it possible that a two-year-old is driving you nuts? I say to that mom, “You’re in authority, remember? The two-year-old is under your authority, and you’re not exercising your authority if the two-year-old is running the house.” Do yourself a favor: love them enough to discipline them early, so you don’t end up with a fifteen-year-old acting like they are still two.
Whether it’s the early years, the middle years, or the teen years of your child’s life, the most important thing you can do is to establish and reestablish that you are in authority. If you don’t, your children won’t understand God’s authority and will rebel against God. They will disrespect the things of God. They will think it’s okay to treat other authorities the same way they treat you.
Parents come to me and say, “My children were in church every Sunday. Why did they rebel?” Because of authority. They didn’t learn how to respect authority at home, so now they don’t respect God’s authority or the authority of others. That’s a dangerous place to be.
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.