Ephesians 5:1-2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Our children imitate us. It is perhaps a truth that we, as parents are reluctant to hear, but it is a reality and it is a reality that we need to accept. Children are like little sponges. They absorb what we tell them even though we often think that they don’t listen to a thing that we say.
It is quite uncomfortable when your children begin to reflect back to you [parent] how you speak and how you act. It brings great joy to our hearts as parents when our children show kindness and compassion to others. It brings great joy to our hearts when our children apologise to us and others without prompting.
It is also quite painful when we begin to observe some of our own unsavoury characteristics in our children. Sometimes seeing our own unpleasant behaviours reflected back to us by our children can be a very bitter pill to swallow. Being a parent is not an easy task and it is definitely not for the faint hearted!
But, do not despair. As Christian parents, we have Someone called Jesus to help us with our parenting. We are not alone! Jesus is there for us to help us and guide us as parents. As Christian parents we want our children to be Christ-like and most importantly, we want our children to experience for themselves the love of Jesus. Our hearts desire is for our children to encounter Jesus for themselves and to exercise their own faith in God.
But the question is how can we help our children to get to know Jesus? How can we as Christian parents come alongside of our children to teach them the Way of Christ? I can direct you today to numerous resources that will help you as a Christian parent. I have benefitted from reading many books on parenting and I have listened to the advice of many of my amazing friends who are also Christian parents. But I don’t want to do that today. Today I want to bring us back to basics. Sometimes we think other people are the experts and we are not. Sometimes we think other parents know more than what we do.
We often underestimate how much wisdom God has already deposited within us through the course of our lives. The reality is God has given you your children for a reason and God will lead and guide you to lead and nurture your very unique children. Does this mean we don’t read books or attend parenting classes? No, by all means read books and attend as many parenting classes as you want but I appeal to you not to forget “the basics”.
I have found for myself that when I return back “to basics”, the mountains and the molehills that I face as a parent becomes smaller and sometimes even disappear! Life somehow just becomes easier!
Lead by Example
It brought a smile to my face when my son asked me to pray for him the other day. My son unfortunately contracted a stomach virus at school and the poor lad was extremely unwell for several days. You see, my son knows that we are a praying family. It is not unusual for us to pray when we drive. We pray for each other and others all the time. We don’t hide our prayers to God from my son. My son knows that we pray for the sick and therefore he did not hesitate to ask me to pray for him. If we want our children to know Jesus, pray with them. If we pray, our children will follow. Lead by example. It is a simple and basic principle.
The Word of God encourages us to be imitators of God. As we as parents model our lives on Jesus Christ, our children will do likewise. When our children see and experience the love that parents have for each other, they will also feel compelled to love others in the same way. I have said it before, but I will say it again: children are like sponges, they absorb what happens at home and they model their lives on us.
If we as parents begin to see ourselves as leaders, I am convinced that our parenting will change for the better. As Christian parents we are Leaders for Christ and God has given us this privileged position to lead our children. I am quite aware that the word “leadership” is not often mentioned when we discuss parenting.
However, I am becoming more and more convinced that as we begin to think of ourselves as leaders to our children, a paradigm shift will occur. The reason why so many young people today are going astray is due to a lack of godly leadership in their lives. Young people today are modelling their lives based on what they see on You Tube and other media platforms. Young people today are desperate for godly role models but because they cannot find godly role models at home, they seek for role models in the secular world.
Parenting is a high calling and I want to encourage you today to never underestimate your influence as a parent. Your children may not always indicate that they are following you but believe me, they do!
The late Princess Diana, Princess of Wales was a woman who lead her children through her own example. Princess Diana visited the sick, the poor and raised money for those less fortunate than herself. Princess Diana, through her compassionate actions influenced her children to be generous towards those less fortunate. Whether you are a fan of the Royal family or not, no one can deny that both Prince William and Prince Harry are indeed following in the footsteps of their late mother through their involvement in numerous charities.
Both Princes have become great advocates for those who find themselves on the fringes of society. It is my humble opinion that Prince William and Prince Harry are teaching their children the same principles of compassion, generosity and kindness that they learnt from their mother.
Parenting can at times feel overwhelming and yes even thankless. Many people will tell you that becoming a parent has been life-changing and the truth of the matter is, it is! It is my opinion that parenting have become more challenging in the last 15 years due to the rise of social media platforms. But in spite of all the pitfalls and challenges, it is my sincere belief that God will lead you as a Christian parent! And as He leads you, lead your children in the ways of Christ.
3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.
Psalm 127:3 New Living Translation (NLT)
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