Mentally Alert
The Duty to Remember Commands and Instructions
by Greg Wright

It's fun to be a kid, but it's even more fun to be a kid when you avoid trouble by being safe and careful. A key to having uninterrupted fun is to be mentally, physically, and spiritually alert. Today I want to talk about being mentally alert.

Two boys in two different parts of town were playing kick ball. Both boys missed catching the ball and watched it roll out into the street. The first boy got so excited that he ran out into the street without looking. Two weeks later he was still unconscious from the car that hit him. The other boy stopped and looked for cars before crossing the street. Both boys had been told by their parents to always look for traffic before crossing the street. Now while one boy hovers between life and death in a hospital bed, the other boy is still having fun with his friends. What was different between the two boys? One boy remembered his parent's instructions. He stopped to look before he crossed the street. He stopped to look because he was mentally alert.

At another time, two boys came home from school to empty houses. Both were visited by strangers while no one else was home. Both had been told by their parents not to let anyone in. The first boy, in his excitement, opened the door for the stranger. The stranger overpowered him, robbed the house, tied up the boy, and took him away. The second boy refused to answer the door. When the stranger tried to force his way inside, the boy called 911 and hid. When the police arrived they arrested the stranger. That afternoon the second boy joined his friends for a game of basketball. The first boy, however, was found dead a few days later in a swamp. What was the difference between the two boys? One boy remembered his parent's instructions. The other boy forgot them. He forgot them because he was NOT mentally alert.

A key part of being mentally alert is the way you respond to instructions. Do you truly make the effort to remember what you are told? The Bible clearly tells you how you should respond to instructions from your parents. One example is Proverbs 1:8, " My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother."

However, many hear and forget. Many a child will disobey his parents, and when he is caught he will give the excuse, "I forgot."

Is that an acceptable excuse before God, or do you have a responsibility to remember what you are told? Let's look at what the Bible says. In Proverbs 3:1 you read, "My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands."

If you truly want to obey God, you need to do more than just listen to your parents; you need to remember what they tell you. What would keep you from remembering?

If you are like many kids, concentration is not going to be a natural thing for you; you will have to take initiative to make yourself concentrate when your parents give you a command. This is one of the ways you obey the commandment that says to honor your father and your mother. You honor them when you make the effort to remember what they tell you. Following are some suggestions to help you remember what your parents tell you.

  1. Accept. Accept responsibility for remembering. Tell yourself that it is your job to remember. Don't let forgetting be an excuse. Many times, if you forget it simply means that it wasn't important enough to you to make the extra effort to remember.

  2. Look. Look at your parents when they talk to you. This is a sign of respect. Looking away from them while they are talking to you can be a sign of disrespect. Also, looking at them helps you to better understand what they are saying. This is because when you look at them, you pick up on their facial expression and other body language that might be just as important as their words. Finally, looking at your parents helps you remember by engaging the sense of sight. When you engage two of your senses, hearing plus seeing, you are more likely to remember than when you only hear.

  3. Acknowledge. Acknowledge that you have heard and that you understand by saying "Yes sir," or "Yes Mam." This forces you to physically affirm that you have heard and understood, and this makes your mind concentrate.

  4. Commit. Commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to remember. This will differ from kid to kid. Here are some simple ways to remember a command or instruction:

    • Repeat it. Sometimes if you just repeat the command in your head a few times you will remember it.
    • Write it. Sometimes you will need to write it down, especially if it is complicated. Take time to write down your parent's instructions and place them where you will see them and be reminded.
    • Make it silly. Sometimes silly, ridiculous associations make it easier for you to remember things. For example, if your parents tell you not to leave your umbrella at school, you might imagine yourself stuffing all your books into your umbrella when you get ready to leave school and making the books shrink. If this is silly and makes you laugh, it might also help you to remember.
Jesus took obedience very seriously. He set the example for all of us in the way he obeyed his heavenly father. In John 14:31 Jesus said, "But that the world my know that I love the Father, and as the father gave me commandment, so I do."

Jesus had the same problem you have: he had to remember. But he did remember. He never neglected anything he was told to do by his heavenly father or by his earthly parents. In fact he never sinned.

Our heavenly father has given us parents and guardians to lead and guide us. As long as they don't teach us to disobey God, let us obey them, even as Jesus obeyed his earthly parents and his heavenly father.

The Christian Counter

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