Obedience is something of a touchy topic, because it can easily morph into something abusive. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with cultivating obedience towards your parents, towards your authority figures (like teachers or bosses), or even towards your faith (if you have one). Remember, obedience is something that should be freely given. If the object of your obedience (like a parent) abuses your obedience, then you have every right to revoke it.
Being Obedient to Your Parents
Be respectful. Part of being obedient is showing respect to your parents, honoring their ideas about what’s best for you, and showing that you think they are worth listening to. Make sure that you listen when they talk and respond when they ask you to respond.
Don’t ignore them in public. When you are out with your parents you might feel a bit embarrassed by them, but pretending that you don’t know them or that you aren’t with them is rude in the extreme. It also has the potential to hurt your parents.
Don’t roll your eyes when they ask you to do something. If you don’t like what they are asking you, the polite way to respond is to ask them to present your feelings on why you don’t want to do what they want you to.
Be attentive to your chores. Parents tend not to ask you to do a ton of chores. In fact, they probably work a lot harder than you do. Obedience means doing what you see needs to be done without your parents even asking you to. Avoid making your parents ask you to do something more than once. Everyone gets distracted occasionally, so you might not always remember to do a chore without being asked. Try to avoid having this be a typical thing.
Do what you can to help out around the house without being specifically ordered. For example: offer to babysit your younger sister so that your parents can have a night off. Or find out when garbage day is and take the garbage out before your mom has to.
Consider why your parents say no, instead of arguing. Parents can have all kinds of rules about what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing. You might not always like or agree with these rules, but an obedient child considers their parents’ point of view instead of fighting about it. Don’t give in to the knee-jerk reaction to argue with them or expressyour disappointment or displeasure.
If they say no to you hanging out with a friend on a Thursday night, they might be considered about you not completing your homework on time or that you’ll be too tired in school the next day.
Express your disagreement in a polite manner. There are times when your parents might ask you to do something unreasonable, or place unreasonable restrictions on you. In many cases calmly discussing why you feel their demands are unreasonable, or offering alternatives or a compromise, can go a long way towards getting you what you want without being disobedient. Calmly explain your side of things. Give facts and don’t rely only on feelings.
Obedience doesn’t mean that you don’t have a mind of your own and it certainly doesn’t mean that you will always need to agree with your parents.
Be polite. Being polite to your parents is a sign of respect and obedience. You also want to be polite to other people: strangers, family members, friends. This way you’ll be demonstrating how well your parents raised you. Make sure that you ask permission to be excused at the dinner table.
Say “please” and “thank you” even for basic things.
Hold doors open for people, offer to help people with their groceries.
Being Obedient to Authority Figures
Pay attention to what they have to say. When you’re trying to be obedient to an authority figure, like your teacher or your boss, then you need to pay attention when they are talking. You want to show that you’re interested. In class look at the teacher while they’re talking. Take down notes when they give important information and look like you’re interested.
Make sure that you are listening to your boss when they are giving you instructions. Again, eye contact is important.
Discuss concerns or issues in private. If there is a problem with an authority figure you should never bring it up in front of people. Instead, ask them if you can talk to them either in their office or after class. For example: if you feel that your teacher gave you the wrong grade for an assignment, you would go and discuss it with them after class. Present some clear and concise reasons why you feel you deserve a different grade (and no, “worked really hard on it” is not a reason).
Understand what is expected from you. It’s hard to be obedient to someone if you’re not really sure what they want from you. This is part of paying attention to what your authority figure says, because then you know what they need from you.
If you’re being obedient to your teacher then you’ll need to stay on top of things like homework, classwork, any major projects, what they require in terms of in-class participation.
If you’re being obedient to a superior at work then you’re going to need to know what’s expected from you in terms of your job. You’re going to need to pay attention to long-term projects, and make sure to not fritter away your time at work surfing on the internet.
Make sure you complete tasks on time. Once you know what is expected of you it’s time to fulfill those expectations in a timely manner. If there is a legitimate reason why a certain task or assignment isn’t going to be completed on time, make sure that you inform your authority figure.
Avoid backtalk. Fighting or bickering with your boss or your teacher is the exact opposite of being obedient. Particularly in a classroom or work situation your opinion on the authority figure isn’t going to be that important.
Backtalk can also be nonverbal, such as rolling your eyes or smirking when they say something you disagree with or find to be stupid.
If they tell you to do something don’t ask “Why?” or say something like “This is totally unnecessary.”
Act like you respect them. Obedience and respect have a tendency to go hand in hand. To be obedient to someone you need to act like you respect them as an authority figure. When they tell you to do something, you do it. Be polite and considerate. Say “thank you” and “please.”
Being Obedient in a Religion
Cultivate humility. When you’re obedient in following the mandates of your faith it means that you’re also being humble. You accept that your god is helping to direct your life and that you accept both the good and the bad that comes.
Try to avoid taking ownership of the things that happen in your life. When something good happens, remind yourself that it was through the grace of your god. If something unhappy happens it is a learning experience brought about by god.
Commit to your faith. Most faiths and religions have specific rules and regulations that a practitioner is required to follow. Committing to your faith means giving up control of your life (not in a bad way) and understanding that what happens is coming from god.
Make choices in line with your faith. Again, because of the rules and regulations in different faiths there are going to be certain choices that will be difficult, because they will make you choose between a life that might be materially easier, but not spiritually acceptable. Obedience to your faith means choosing the latter path.
For example: such a choice could be sacrificing your career path, becauseit doesn’t align with your beliefs.
It could also be something like taking significant time out of your day to incorporate prayer.
Avoid judging other people based on their beliefs and obedience. Obedience to your faith is a personal thing. It means that you are in connection with your god and your faith and that can be wonderful.
It does not mean that you have carte blanche to criticize other people’s beliefs or infringe on their way of living.
Obedience is a very personal thing, especially as regards obedience to your god. You should avoid making value judgements about other people’s faith, other people’s families, because you have no idea what they believe or how they see obedience.
You have to be careful about obedience. You want it to be based on respect for the figure you are obeying. If they abuse that respect then you should not feel obligated to obey them.
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