Children learn how to behave from the words and actions of their parents, who often aren’t even aware of the things they say and do. Parents’ actions are constantly being recorded in their childrens’ young and impressionable minds. As parents we often say “Do as I say and not as I do.” But for the most part, children will do as you do! They watch how you deal with situations. They observe what you say about people. They hear how you feel about particular subjects. They learn to like who and what you like and to dislike who and what you dislike. While both parents influence their children, the parent who spends the most time with them usually has the most influence. The positive things children should learn from you are: how to respond to God favorably, the value of waiting upon God for what they want, how to navigate through life in a way that honors God, how to love and respect others, how to trust God to control the circumstances in life, and how to submit to God. We’ve heard the terms, “like mother, like daughter,” or “like father, like son.” That can either work for good or for bad. There is nothing more painful for parents than to see their adult children get tangled up time and time again in bad situations. Our negative influence may show itself in a child who has a bad attitude, a resentful spirit or a lack of respect for a spouse. We should ask ourselves, “Is this attitude from me?” If so, we have to confess and change.
God gives many examples in the Old and New Testament to teach us the influence of parents. Read the shocking example of Herodias and her daughter and the beheading of John the Baptist (Mt. 14:1-11; Mk. 6:14-29). Then read of the influence Timothy’s mother and grandmother had on him (2 Tim. 1:3-6).
Parents, pay close attention to your attitudes, words and actions, because your children and their friends are watching you. Do all you can to influence them for God, because He is watching too!
By Pat Stuart
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org