I was sitting in a prayer meeting with two of my kids on either side of me, knowing that if I stood up to worship, they would too. And, in knowing that, I also knew that if I didn’t, neither would they. I’m reminded of this same notion when I hear my kids yelling at one another, being impatient and too hard on each other. In a brief moment of oblivion, I think to myself, what would provoke them to behave this way? Then I open my eyes. I’ve been this way lately. I’ve let my behavior become something that I tell them not to do. I am the bad influence. I could use this time to beat myself up for being a terrible mother, which I do sometimes. But, what I should really be doing is stopping everything there, sitting down calmly, apologizing for my behavior while gently correcting theirs. Sometimes, we just need a refresh; a restart; a do over. Fortunately, God shows us that kind of mercy. We just have to let Him teach us and be willing to learn those lessons.
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)
Most people look at this verse to remind themselves or others to make sure children are learning to walk a godly path. That is certainly part of the intention of this verse. It is also telling us that if we train them in any way but the godly way, they will also not depart from it.
Their little eyes are a reflection of ours, not just because we have passed down the trait of our eye color, but because what they see, they do. This can be good, but can be bad. It is a huge responsibility to have their little eyes watching our every move and their little ears listening to our every word. Sometimes when we really want them to listen and heed our words, it seems like they don’t, but they’re still listening. They’re absorbing all of it. The words. The tone. Our reaction. Our we’re actually saying or teaching or telling. Maybe the lesson is in the reaction when we are disobeyed or our response when they just simply don’t understand what we want from them. Maybe the lesson is really for us. Whatever it is, remember the influence we have.
Parenting is hands down the most important calling on our life. God gave us whole humans to parent. He trusts us. Trust the calling. When we mess up, let’s apologize; dust off our feet; and move forward. This work is hard sometimes but we are well equipped. When we have God’s Word and His Spirit dwelling in us, nothing can stop us. Anything that tries to stop us will fall before Jesus, our Victor!
We must show children appropriate behavior while they’re near. Going back to the prayer meeting example, I notice that when my children are sitting with my husband and I in church, they emulate us. That, of course, is one of the forms of learning. You copy the teacher. You do what they do. I’ve also noticed that not all of them continue to emulate us if they are sitting across the church without us. They can still see us and we see them but we aren’t next to each other. This reminds me that the more they learn while they are in our presence, the more they will take with them when they step away. Of course there comes a time when they will need to take steps away from us and do things on their own. They will have to make their own choices. We must prepare them while they’re close so that they will know what to do when we aren’t there. That’s why children are in your care for so many years. It requires constant teaching. What they do and how they behave has to become e a lifestyle. This means that behavior first has to be a lifestyle for YOU. Be who you want them to be. Pray that they will be even better.
Stand strong, momma and daddy. Let the Lord fight your battles and while He’s fighting for you, let Him lead your steps as well.