It can be very disturbing to realize that our children often mirror the way we speak and act. I can remember early in our marriage being concerned about the way my son angrily lashed out at his younger brother when he was annoying him. My wife gently pointed out to me that his behavior was a reflection of mine. I can remember a few weeks later, I caught myself lashing out at my son when I was frustrated. Through my wife’s encouragement, I apologized to him for my behavior and told him I would learn to treat him with more respect. In the months that followed, I noticed that my son’s attitude toward his brother also improved. Children don’t learn to love and obey God only by what we say. They also learn by watching how we put our beliefs into practice. It goes on at mealtime, in the car, in the store, in conversation with or about neighbors … all the time. Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us we are to teach them about God and His Word as we “sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up”.
I must say that I can’t think of a more rewarding job than being a parent. This means that God has entrusted my wife and I with the task of training our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). He has given us the duty to teach them the fear of the Lord (Psalm 128). He has asked us to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord without exasperating them (Ephesians 6:4). He has allowed us to share the heritage of faith and for our efforts we get lots of hugs and kisses. Besides leading our children to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, what other kind of influence helps our children? I believe it is modeling a good husband-wife relationship. This will give them the security and love they need to spark their endeavors. Have you ever considered the husband-wife relationship described in Proverbs 31? Although we usually concentrate on the “super mom” aspects of the passage, it’s also important to take note what was said about her husband. This gives us more insight into the relationship of two successful parents.
(1)He trusts her; she does good things for him and never does him harm (vv. 11, 12).
(2)He is respected – evidently earned in part because of a positive relationship at home (v. 23).
(3)He praises her openly (v. 28).
It is very evident that these two individuals are obviously in love, and they know how to show it to their children. No wonder the children “rise up and call her blessed.” Thus, if you want to help your children – then love, respect, praise, and trust your spouse. We can’t be perfect parents, but our children must see our desire to please the Lord. And when we fall short, they need to see our repentance. We teach them by both what we say and what we do. Thus, the question we need to ask is:
(1) Are we living for Christ in such a way that we want our children to imitate us?
Children may close their ears to advice, but their eyes are always open to example