Today, I want to highlight a simple biblical principle. If that has made all the difference in our family when it comes to parenting our six kids. It has changed EVERYTHING. Here it is; Strive to be the kind of person you want your children to become.
How many times have you seen a parent lose it in a grocery store or in a restaurant, desperately trying to pacify an out of control kid before their good reputation is completely lost? Once, I saw a dad yell at his son, screaming the words, “Stop screaming or you’ll be in trouble!” As Chelsea likes to say, “You can’t bad attitude your kids out of a bad attitude.” Kids naturally play follow the leader. You’re the leader. One pastor put it this way- Try to be a picture of what you want to see in your kids. In other words, more is caught than taught. Kids learn to copy what they see. If you want your kids to have self-control, then model it for them. If you want them to be kind and compassionate, then model those things. Charles Spurgeon, the great “Prince of Preachers” said the secret to successful parenting is to “train up a child in the way he should go and then make sure you go that way yourself!”
Since there are no perfect parents, we’ll make mistakes, occasionally lose our cool, and break our own rules. When this happens, rejoice! It lets your kids know that you’re just like them and are also in need of God’s kindness, forgiveness, and strength to try again. Admitting to our children when we are wrong, and asking them for forgiveness is not a weakness, it is a strength! When you do this, you are modeling for them how to respond to a guilty conscience and seek to make things right. They’ll need to know how to do this quickly with friends, siblings, and one day, their own spouse. “Do as I say, not as I do” just won’t work. Instead, tell your kids to follow you as you strive to follow Christ. The promise of God is that if we “train up our children in the way they should go when they are old, they will not depart from it.”
Live It Out: Think about a quality you want to see developed more fully in one or more of your children. How often do you think your child has seen this quality modeled by you and your spouse? Dailly? Weekly? Less often? Purpose today to create an activity or an environment where you can live out this needed character quality by intentionally showing your kids what it looks like. For me, I want my kids to value reading God’s Word and celebrating his faithfulness in our family’s life, so I’m going to make a killer breakfast this weekend and gather up for a family devotional where we read the Bible and count our blessings.