For those of you just joining us, this is part 3 of a 5 Part Series Called, “How to Help Your Kids Grow In Their Relationship With God.” In part one, we looked at family prayer from a different perspective. In part two, I challenged you to include your children in your personal time with God. Today, we are going to talk about something I call “modeling.”
No, I’m not going to ask you to put on trendy clothes and walk down a runway – although some of you might think that is a fun idea. I’m talking about how we “model” or show our kids our faith by our actions.
Back in the 80’s there was an anti-drug commercial that was popular. In the commercial, a father discovers his son is using drugs. The father confronts his son and says, “Where did you learn to do this?” The son responds, “You! I learned it from watching you.” Then the video ends with this tag line: “Parents who use drugs have kids who use drugs.”
This commercial is the essence of modeling.
As people of faith, you and I are both parents and disciple-makers. Modeling is a huge part of how we disciple our children. Because children learn more by what we do then what we say.
I recently heard a 13-year-old boy tell a group of adults it is routine for him to see his dad in his office praying. This young man went on to share that his Dad is a man of prayer. WOW! Wouldn’t we all like to hear our kids say this about us? This is an awesome example of modeling.
Now, think back to what you learned from your parents. Did you learn more from observation or conversation? Each person learns more by what they see and experience then by what they hear or read. As parents who want to teach our children faith, modeling is an important tool in the parenting toolkit.
One of the best scriptures about discipleship is from Deuteronomy 6:4-7
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This verse is a great reminder that you and I are teaching faith and life to our children at all times - in the car, along the grocery store aisle, at the dinner table, and when you put them to bed at night. Whether or not you are modeling on purpose, you are still modeling. Let’s make sure our modeling and words match up. Let’s be intentional to model the faith we say we believe not simply allow our children to guess what we believe by the way they see us live.
Of course, you and I are human. We are not perfect. We will have areas we model well and areas we struggle. While it’s very good to spend time observing ourselves and tweaking areas we do not model well, it’s also very good to model repentance and a soft heart toward God (and our family and friends) while we struggle and learn to live our faith better.
As you and I begin to grasp how much our kids learn from our actions, it will give us a reason for being intentional. It will make us better parents.
There is a promise from God when we choose to model faith to our children and teach them to obey God’s commands.
“…The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today…”
God wants to give your family spiritual blessings, peace, joy, wisdom, and hope. But, we need to understand the way to receive the promises of God. They come from obedience to His Word and by modeling a vibrant and living faith to our children that is carried to the next generation.
So, how do we begin today? Let’s start by observing our faith and what we model to our children. I have included some questions to help you start:
*Are you modeling a living, vibrant relationship with the Lord?
*Dad, are you aggressive or belittling toward your wife? If so, you’re training your little girl to expect this for herself and training your son how they are to treat their wives.
*Mom, are you stressed and worried? Or are you walking by faith and trusting the Lord? You are modeling to your children how to live when life becomes difficult or uncertain.
*Mom and Dad, how do you treat others? For example, how do you treat the wait staff when your family is dining out?
*Are you generous or selfish with others?
*Are you quick or slow to become angry?
*Do you spend regular time with God?
*Do you keep your word?
After you read this list, spend some time praying. Ask God to show you areas you can model better. Ask him how to help grow your kids relationship with God. Make every effort to line your actions up with the words you speak. M
I know this is not easy but I believe you will reap great reward by modeling faith to your children. If you have any questions or want to share a praise report with me, email me at email@example.com.