We’ve all been there. We wonder if we’re doing this parent thing right. Am I reading to my child enough? Is he eating healthy enough? Am I spending enough time with him? And the list goes on and on. I was having one of those days recently where I was wondering if I was doing things “right” when all of a sudden, my 15 month old stopped playing to fold his hands together like he was praying. Then at dinner the next night, we sat down to eat and I had already given Wylder his food because we were at the point where he couldn’t wait any longer, when my husband said, “Let’s say the blessing.” And do you know what happened next? My little hangry monster dropped his food and folded his hands to say the blessing. I’m that moment, all my wondering if I was doing things right disappeared. He watches us so closely so he can learn to do the things we do, that we would sometimes fold our hands together (other times we’d hold hands) and he picked up on it. For better or worse, our kids pick up habits and skills by watching us.
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) says, “Direct your children into the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” The path we start our children on now will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Making sure that we are setting a good example for our children is extremely important. They mimic us and as they get older, they’re not just listening to our words, but also our actions. If we want our children to be Christ following people, we need to make sure that we are showing them what that looks like. Are your children seeing you shine Jesus in everything you do or do they see something else?
The Bible gives several examples of parenting. We see both the good and the bad when we read through the Bible’s chapters. One of the most obvious illustrations of our children copying our bad example can be found in Genesis with Abraham and Isaac. In Genesis 26:1-11, we see Isaac lying to the men of Gerar by telling them that Rebekah was his sister instead of his wife. He feared they would kill him if they knew she was his wife. In the end, he is found out and an order is made not to touch Rebekah. This story is eerily similar to a story found in Genesis 12:10-20 and again in Genesis 20:1-18. Abraham arrives in a new town with Sarah and tells everyone that she is his sister instead of his wife because he fears they will kill him in order to get to her. In both situations, Abraham is found out and his life is spared. Like Father, like son.
We’ve seen a Biblical example of our children picking up our not so good behaviors, but what about the good? We see in 2 Timothy how setting a godly example in your home will affect your children. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV), “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” These ladies don’t have an entire story dedicated to them, but their example and influence over Timothy was noticed by Paul and important enough for him to mention. Your Children mimic what they see and if they watch you love and serve the Lord, you are creating a firm foundation for them to do the same.
Our children have free will to make their own choices in life. They may not always listen to everything we say, but they do look to us as an example of how they should act. If we show them what it is like to live and serve God from an early age, it will set the foundation for them to do the same.