Saturday, March 17, 2012

What really shapes a child's life.

I was reminded this morning of the fact that parents are by far the biggest influence in the lives of their children.  We teach that concept, but it's different when you see your children doing the exact things you do.  This can be really good or really bad, depending on what example we're setting for them.  What I'm saying is that, in some ways, you can't really get too upset about how your kids turn out--because most of the time, they are just imitating us.

THE GOOD: This morning my 4-year old daughter came downstairs with a journal in her hand and said, "I need to read my Bible before I eat my breakfast" and then sat on the couch and "pretended" to read the Bible (she can't really read yet).  I was pretty encouraged that she understood the value of letting God speak through the Bible, by watching us do it everyday.  My 5-year old also began wanting to do her "devotions" on her own now that she knows how to read.

THE BAD: Later, the kids went up to their room and the girls began "role-playing" mommy and daddy with with my son Efraim.  I noticed their tone of voice was not very pleasant with him, but when I went to talk to them about it, I realized that they were just imitating the tone of voice that my wife and I sometimes use!  How convicting.  The way we talk, our tone, our words... are all penetrating their little minds and then coming out of their mouths the same way.

We shape our kids more than anyone else, in good ways and bad ways.  So today God reminded me that if I want my kids to love him, I MUST LOVE HIM.  If I want my kids to speak to be encouragers, I MUST BE ENCOURAGING.  If I want my kids to value wisdom and humility, I MUST MODEL IT.

So simple, but so profound.  So simple, but so easy to forget.  God help us lead the way and model godliness to the next generation.

"You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up..."  Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NLT)

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