Many parents and teachers will tell you that children these days are disobedient. Why is that so? Because they are learning it from us. Too often we know exactly what we should do in a situation and yet we don’t do it. Even as I wrote those words, God convicted me. I knew I was guilty of doing exactly that. Yesterday I thought about calling someone to see how they were but didn’t because I wanted to do all the things I had to do, so I could finish reading the latest Jodi Picoult book.
So this time when I received the prompt to ring, I knew I needed to do it. So I did. But too often we choose to ignore those promptings from the Holy Spirit much the same way we choose to ignore the road speed signs and think we know better. We choose to ignore our responsibility as parents and not devote the time and effort we should to teaching our children, to maintaining good relationships with them, to giving them a positive example of holy living to follow. Children learn these things without a word being spoken. They copy the adult role models around them.
Recently my husband saw an example of how children copy parents. The child’s father had his hand to his ear talking on the mobile phone. Following in his footsteps was his little girl – no phone, but still with her hand to her ear pretending to talk to someone and copying every move Dad made.
That’s the reality, children learn by example more than our words or anything else. So we need to be aware of the example we are setting each day.
A high school teacher recently said to me that young people today feel the world is a hopeless and scary place. They feel they have been let down- let down by their parents. Parents who are never home to look after children; parents who can’t maintain a relationship themselves, so have no idea how to set that example for their children; parents who cheat and lie and have affairs.
Is it any wonder young people feel they have been let down? And guess who is to blame? Each of us who is not living the way God wants us to, each of us who is putting our own needs above the need of family and setting the children of today a positive example. It won’t change unless each one of us is part of that change.