Perhaps, no one may have more influence in your child’s life than you! If you have children in your home, I believe God has entrusted them into your care for a reason. He has a purpose for them through you. While they are very young we have much influence over them as to how they will perceive their world, what they may generally believe about other people, and very importantly, how they see Christ. Even if your children are older, there is still so much you can teach them.
I believe the biggest way our children learn from us is by example. If we find certain offensive things acceptable part of the time, our children may grow to believe those things are acceptable. In thinking about your day to day life, what kind of role model do you see yourself as?
Here are some things to ask yourself:
- Do your children see you in the Word or praying?
- Do you use curse words in front of your children—especially against God?
- Do you drink smoke or use substances that you would not want your children trying?
- Do they hear you talking badly about someone you are friends with (gossiping)?
- Are you living a life in Christ that you hope for your children to follow in?
- If you are married, what kind of example are you and your spouse to your children in how you communicate and work things out?
The old saying, “Do as I say and not as I do,” probably came from a parent who had reason to feel guilty about what they were doing. The saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” is probably much more descriptive of actuality.
I try to take opportunities in my everyday life to talk about this with my kids. We pray before meals and will often remind each other how thankful we are that Daddy goes out and works hard so that we can have a house and food. We recognize too that Daddy’s ability to work comes from God. When we’re on the road and hear a siren, we remember to pray for the person(s) in need. At night, we talk about Jesus and His greatness toward us.
It is important too for my husband and me to show a good example of marriage. Much of our children’s perception of marriage may come from what they’ve experienced growing up. If we argue, it is done very respectfully, hearing each other out and always coming to an understanding or forgiveness in front of our children. If there needs to be a serious discussion that is of no benefit to our children, it’s done in private. My husband and I are united as a team. Our kids know we serve God first, and then authority is given to Daddy and Mommy. We make sure to spend quality family time together so our boys have good memories of a loving family.
It is important especially for daddies to set the example of Christ. A person’s perception of God as thier Father is often influenced by how they see their earthly father. If their dad is a bum and disrespectful of authority, and this is condoned, the child may have a difficult time having respect for a Holy God. I suppose this can go for a mother as well. If Mom or Dad is cursing God’s name in the house, how is it the child should feel respect for a Holy name that’s been condemned by their parents? The best way I know to teach my kids about Christ is to try to be the best example I can be. I’m working daily on this one. Hopefully, our children’s kids will one day reap the benefits of our efforts today.
Please check out my other Christian parenting blogs from this series: