I don’t realize how my words sound until I hear them repeated back to me by my son. He mimics flawlessly not only my words but the attitude in which they are said. It’s like watching myself in a mirror through the eyes of a four-year-old. This proves quite a wake-up call to the way I speak and behave. I cannot rightly correct words and attitudes in him that I know he first sees characterized in me; it’s like yelling at your child to stop yelling.
All Eyes on You
I often hear the saying “we become what we behold.” I see how true this is as I watch my children watch me and respond in kind. Do I want my children to be patient and kind? Then I must be patient and kind first. Do I want my kids to share toys? Then I must model a willingness to share my own time and resources.
Truly, our children become what they behold and they behold little else more than their parents.
You Can’t Save Your Kids — But…
It’s true that our children are individual creations with a free will. Even the best parenting doesn’t guarantee children who know and love the Lord and even the worst parenting doesn’t doom children to not knowing and loving the Lord.
But we learn from our parents and the attitudes and affections we behold in them inform our hearts about what is worth loving and living for.
Do my children believe life is found in gazing at a cell phone after watching me look down at mine all day? Is church a place we go because we have to based on mom and dad’s attitude? Children are masters at perceiving when parents aren’t following their own rules. Misstep and you will see just how close they’ve been watching all along.
Walk Your Talk
Though I grew up in a Christian environment, many of the people I grew up with no longer claim to be believers. We were raised by Christian parents, went to church and Christian schools and had every opportunity to know and love the Lord. So why the mass exodus from the faith of our parents? Though the reasons vary, a common thread remains: The faith we saw isn’t something we desire for ourselves. Be it from sin and hypocrisy or lukewarm half-heartedness, what the world offers seems more desirable than what we saw at church and home. Can our children say the same?
Throughout Scripture, a living, active faith is equated with godly actions. Though Scripture makes it clear that our works can’t save us, the proof of our faith is in the way we live (John 14:15). I may say all I want that I love the Lord and want to live for him. But do my actions and affections line up with what I confess to being true? Can my children see from my life that Christ is truly worth loving and living for?
Taste and See
Psalm 34:8 implores us,
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (ESV)
In desiring our children to know and love the Lord, perhaps the best place to start is our own hearts.
How deeply do I love the Lord? How well do my attitudes and actions testify to that love and make known how worthy God is of my life and affections?
As I watch my children watch me, I’m daily reminded that my faith influences them to love the Lord or to view him as less than desirable. May the grace of God enable each of us as parents to live out our faith and to show our children how desirable it really is to “taste and see that the LORD is good!”
Kari Andrews // outsideairblog.com