If there is one area of failure that has the greatest effect, it is a lack of consistency. We can get excited about these areas for a few days, but a few days will not build character. We must remain consistent over a period of time--several weeks in a beginning area, and even years in most areas. Children are always changing, and just when we think we have arrived, they have matured and new areas open up which we have not even thought of. To remain consistent over a period of years takes the power of God. Training is demanding. It takes total life commitment to succeed. It is easy to see why the world looks on and gives up before even beginning.
Oftentimes we think we are consistent when we are not. For example, we may commit ourselves to teaching our children to obey the first word spoken in a normal voice with a good attitude. But when we command, we allow them to say, "Why?" or "I know," or "Can I do something else?" A command is to be obeyed. If we thought they needed to know why, we would have told them. If we thought they already knew, we would not have opened our mouths. If we wanted to give them another choice, we would have asked them what they wanted to do. In allowing these responses, we are actually teaching the opposite of what we want to teach.
To be consistent means that we are going to have to think about what we are doing. We have to think before we open our mouths to give a command. This is demanding. Are we prepared to see that our commands are carried out? If not, then we should never open our mouths. If we're going to let our children do what they want, then we should say, "Do what you want." But a command is to be obeyed. It takes the Holy Spirit to show us ourselves. Do we want to be shown? When we speak, are we prepared to stand behind our words? God is behind His word--are we?
Are we aware of what is happening around us? Do we want to be aware? Are we involved, or are we seeking to escape the responsibility? Only the Holy Spirit can search our hearts and reveal weaknesses so they can be strengthened, but He is faithful if we love the truth. Do we love our children? If we do, then we will welcome the all-seeing eye of God in these matters.