When someone is dependable, they are usually on time, are reliable, can be trusted, have integrity, do what they say they are going to do, work without supervision, pay attention to details, and are respectable.
We may think, we’ve got this, but what we really need is to know how to help our spouse or kids become more dependable . . . because they don’t seem to get it.
Why is it natural for us to point the finger at those around us instead of looking deeper inside ourselves?
Human nature? It’s easier to blame things on everyone else than it is to change our own actions. It’s easy to see the clothes thrown all over the floor by our spouse or kids while every day walking right over our own clutter.
Same goes for being dependable. It’s not a problem for us to say, “Hang on, I’ll get to it in a minute” when someone asks us to do something for them while we are in the middle of doing something else, but we dislike hearing it from our kids when they say that to us.
It requires an effort of grace to be patient and wait on another person to get up and do what we have asked them, yet we expect automatic patience and grace from those waiting on us.
Maybe you are the parent who immediately jumps up and does exactly what your kids want, exactly when they want it. Hats off to you! I wish I was.
But for the most part, as parents we are busy with work, cleaning or cooking dinner just about every time our kid wants us. We have learned to multitask. Many times we will come to a stopping place and drop what we are doing to tend to our children’s needs.
How do we teach that same dependability to our children?
I am still learning and have tried many things. Some work and some don’t.
- Ask three times and on the third time, yell at them. Ha-ha. It works, but it’s not very kind or graceful.
- Take away everything they have until they finally have nothing left and will do what you have asked them. Mean, but effective most of the time.
- Give an ultimatum. “You are grounded if you do not do what I have asked.”
I have done all of these and yes, they can be effective but do they really ever teach kids to be dependable? I think not. They teach them that if they wait long enough, Mom will finally blow up and that’s when they’ll have to do something.
I believe some people are born with a natural “rule follower” mentality and they will just do what you say when you say it. These are the kids who, when you count to three, stop on two.
Then there are people who walk right up to the edge and are fixing to fall before they finally decide to do what you ask. They do things their way regardless of how disobedient or who gets mad.
Finally, there are those who just don’t care and will jump off the edge, carrying you with them because you are so mad or disappointed in them that you blow up.
So how do we teach dependability?
We can begin by setting the example.
- Tell the truth. Zechariah 8:16
- Strive for perfection. Whatever you do, do the best you can. Colossians 3:23
- Finish well. When you start something, finish it. 2 Corinthians 8:11
- Be reliable. Keep your promises. Numbers 30:2
- Be certain. If you don’t know for sure if you can do something, don’t promise it. Matthew 5:37
- Communicate. If you do make a promise and can’t keep it, call the person and explain why. Colossians 4:6
Last but definitely not least: PRAY!
“Never stop praying.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17
People are watching us everyday and we can be the example of Christ to them. God is dependable and we are made in His likeness. He entrusts us daily with the opportunity to speak into the lives of others and one way we can do that is:
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.” (1 Peter 5:2-4, NLT)
Can you share how you have been able to teach dependability to your loved ones? Please leave us a comment.
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