When my daughters were small I once found them fighting each other. The older one only four years of age was smacking her little sister who was only two. Instinctively I intervened and spanking the older one I repeated: “you cannot hit your little sister, because she is smaller than you.”
Perplexed she looked at me and without saying a word her eyes seamed to tell me: “if I’m four years of age and can’t hit my little sister because she is smaller, how come you thirty years old can hit me with only four?” At this time I understood that if I was to truly teach my daughters, my actions would have to be more important than my words.
Our children see us almost 24 hours per day, we can tell them whatever we want but it will not be our words but our behavior that will influence them for better or for worse. If we are to follow the biblical recommendation to instruct the children on the ways of the Lord from their very early days, they must see us in these ways to believe in our instruction.
Because we know our own imperfection sometimes we feel inadequate and incapable to serve as role models for the future generation. Nevertheless what is needed is not for us to be perfect but for us to be truthful.
Later on I was able to apologize to my daughter and tell her how much I loved her by changing my behavior to show her that those weren’t only vain words. She was able to learn that I wasn’t perfect but could recognize my mistakes and be willing to improve, and she also learnt that she wasn’t perfect and could also recognize her mistakes and improve.
If we are parents or not the future generation looks at us and will follow our example. The Bible strongly alerts us to be role models worthy to be followed; otherwise we will pay for misleading the little ones of the Lord. What’s great is that if we follow Christ He helps us to improve our behavior.
(Instruct the children, Proverbs 22:6 – Not mislead the children, Luke 17:1-2).