Today, McQueen is still very cute. But he is also very PRODUCTIVE. Like every guide dog, he is admired for his usefulness and brains when it comes to guide work. He is praised for his loyalty and service to his master (me).
What made the difference between having POTENTIAL and being PRODUCTIVE? For the first two years of McQueen’s life he had love and training poured into him.
Most of that time was spent with puppy raisers who loved him (they provided for him, protected him, and praised him while he was growing). While caring for him the puppy raisers began teaching him obedience. The love that was shown became the motivation for McQueen to learn obedience. He still thrives on praise and knowing he is doing a good job. The puppy raisers were given a book as thick as the Bible on various obedience commands they needed to teach McQueen. Every day (even now) McQueen went through simple obedience training like “sit”, “down”, “sit”, “down”, “sit”, “stay”, “down”, “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “stand”, “sit”, “Good Boy!” (Pat on the head—McQueen goes wild! And then he hears, “sit”, and calms right back down again.) Once he mastered the simple obedience commands (known as Juno) then McQueen could go back to the Guide Dogs of the Desert School for specific guide work training with a qualified trainer. McQueen learned simple obedience and at a year and a half he entered Guide Dog “college.”
There are so many parallels here to child rearing and life—I hope you are catching them! My dog started out with POTENTIAL and because of obedience training and love became PRODUCTIVE.
One reason our nation is in a mess with no regard for educational, governmental, or church authority (let alone God’s authority) is because the home is a mess. Parents may be “loving” their children and not “training” them in matters of simple obedience. Or, parents are “training” their children without the “love” aspect. Remember with McQueen, the puppy raiser’s providing, protecting, and praising motivated him to learn obedience. Without the love aspect McQueen would have been a sad puppy dog. And, without the training aspect McQueen would just be another spoiled pet. Ouch! I am writing this analogy to sharpen my own parenting skills and that last one hurt.
When considering what they do to train guide dogs we can learn a lot about training children. But keep in mind, training service animals is a worthy and noble cause that helps hundreds of blind people and people with PTSD, diabetes, epilepsy, etc., but training our children right impacts whole communities, schools, churches, nations, and the world for generations to come.
Pretty much the only commandment given to children in the New Testament is “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3.
Dear friend, if your child will not obey YOU, they will not obey their teacher at school, the police officer, their boss at work, or God. That is a dangerous place to be because the main reason there is anybody with authority is because God ordained authority for our good. If you, as a parent, do not expect your child to obey authority, then you are holding them back from great things. The teacher educates, the police officer protects, the boss writes your paycheck, and God saves your soul. To rebel against these is to ruin your potential. And, to teach our children to rebel against these authorities will ruin their potential.
One thing I have learned from my guide dog, McQueen comes from his training:
OBEDIENCE IS THE FOUNDATION OF USEFULNESS.
If McQueen never learned to obey he would have been a drain on our family (like our other mutt), instead of a productive service dog.
Let me share a breath of fresh air with you, my friend. God has given you the authority to expect obedience from your child. But He has also given you the tools for training and they are found in the Bible. If you need encouragement you are always welcome to come to church and be refreshed with other parents trying to raise their kids (there is strength in numbers).
Keep checking this page for more insights on how to train your child to obey, learned from the life of McQueen and the Word of God.