Parenting is such a unique responsibility. As we raise our children, we too are given the opportunity to be growing and developing along-side of them in amazing ways. As we consider how to be good parents to our unique children within the family culture that we are choosing to build, we must be aware and intentional of the impact that our life, as a model to follow, has on our children. Over the course of time, our example will carry more weight with our children than will our instruction.
Paul instructed Timothy to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV). In the same way, we are to lead our children by example in all we do and say.
In light of this, I think it would be a good idea for us to consider what we are communicating to our children in the following areas:
Have we made it a priority in our lives to be always growing and are we doing things to facilitate that? Adulthood should not be marked by a plateau in growth and learning or else we will become stagnant. In humility, we should continue to pursue growth in all areas of our lives. We do this through an active pursuit of the Lord, reading books, experiencing new things, interacting with people who are different than us, etc. Let’s not be stationary, let’s be intentionally pursuing fresh revelation about the Lord, ourselves, and the world around us!
You are never too old to follow a dream. For some reason we can think that there is only a certain window in our lives to pursue those things we are passionate about. However, that’s not true. Teaching our children to tune into those things that they enjoy, are passionate about, or gifted in is a skill set that they will learn best when we model it. Our willingness to step out and try new things or pursue a dream, teaches them to be brave and courageous. This could be as small as being more demonstrative in how we express worship to the Lord or trying new foods and as big as learning a new skill or starting a business. Let’s model courage to our children!
All parents would probably agree that we want our children to be kind to others, but do we model care, love, selflessness, and kindness in how we talk about people, how we treat them, and how we make time for them in our life? Our children will learn from our example long before they can process the verbal instruction of “be kind”, “sit beside the kid with no friends”, etc. Are we demonstrating a value for people and laying down our life for them through our life and choices?
Our children will develop a very similar mindset about themselves (value, identity, and worth) that we have about ourselves. So, we must do an honest examination. Are we secure in who the Lord has made us to be? Are we rooted in our identity as a son/daughter of the King? Do we speak words of truth and life over/about ourselves? The way that we view and treat ourselves is how we are teaching our children to view and treat themselves. We must be pursuing health and breakthrough so that we are living by and modeling truth in this area!
As parents it is easy to feel that we should have it all together, have conquered all of our weaknesses, and be a shining example in all things for our children. While this is nice in theory, the reality is that while we should be ahead of our children in many ways, we are still works in progress too.
Rather than letting pride make us think we are good where we are at, giving us an excuse to stall out, let us be humble enough to embrace our process and to model growth for our children. The way that we approach these different areas and the genuineness of our pursuit of growth, health, victory, and freedom will have a huge impact on our children and will pave the way for them to do the same.
Let’s be intentional so that we can lead well and be a living model for our children to follow!