Originally published June 30, 2008
Thou shalt set a good example
for thy children
by thine own Godly behavior.
“…walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” Ephesians 4:1-2
Do what I say, not what I do.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Actions speak louder than words.
Practice what you preach.
Which of those maxims seem to ring true when it comes to parenting? For years, every childrearing expert who has come along has reminded us that modeling the behavior we want our kids to exhibit is one of the most effective ways of shaping them. Of course, if you’re a mom of a child who is old enough to walk and talk, you already know that modeling works, because, for better or for worse, you’ve already heard your own words fly out of your child’s mouth or seen him imitate you at some point!
Your kids will imitate you. My kids will imitate me. How do we use that knowledge to pour godliness into them? The Bible tells us that we are to be imitators of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1-2). We need to strive for godliness in our own lives until we can say to our kids, as Paul said to the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
They need to see us studying our Bibles and spending time in prayer. They need to see us resist temptation. They need to see us set aside our own desires in favor of serving others. They need to see us exhibit love, humility, kindness, patience, forgiveness and mercy. They need to hear us building others up instead of criticizing and gossiping. They need to see us work through problems with our husbands, families and friends in a godly way. They need to see us admit when we’re wrong and seek forgiveness.
So, in the spirit of that old children’s song:
Oh, be careful Mommy’s mouth what you say
And be careful Mommy’s feet where you go
And be careful Mommy’s hands what you do
Not only is “the Father up above…looking down in love,” but our little ones are looking up at us too.