One of the first lessons I learned about parenthood was that my words were not as effective as my actions. My children would live what I modeled for them.
In my “younger years” it was a well-known fact that I loathed broccoli, or any other type of green veggie for that matter. So imagine my friends’ surprise when I started serving pasta dishes with stir-fried veggies — lots of them — mostly green! My internal parenting book suggested that as (a) I knew my children would need to eat those veggies to grow healthy and strong, and (b) they were more likely to eat them if it was an accepted practice in our home to do so, then (c) I would have to set the example.
- If I want them to eat their veggies, I’d better be chewing mouthfuls of broccoli!
- Telling them a shot won’t hurt is very ineffective — particularly if they just saw me get mine.
- If I ask them to keep their rooms clean, mine should be without clutter.
- If I expect them to pick things up when they see them out of place, I should grab hold of that errant sandal before I trip over it.
- If I want them to make time each day to pray and read God’s Word, they should see me with my Bible open and in prayer.
Oh, as a model, I regularly fail. But on those all-too-frequent occasions my children can hopefully watch me model honesty, repentance, and seeking forgiveness.
I know I cannot be the parent I would hope to be on my own. I know I cannot model what I want my children to live in my own strength.
I strive to walk in the Spirit so that I never have to see my children suffer through the ramifications of “do what I say, not what I do.” I seek God’s wisdom and rest in His grace as little eyes are watching.
We have collected quite a few thoughts on the subject.