The Imitation of Christ

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of ur lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:24-26

Whenever something goes wrong, many times the first words out of our mouthes are, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” So we shouldn’t be surprised when we hear the same words come out of the mouths of our children or grandchildren. It’s funny how they even put the same emphasis on the word got as we do!

Children are imitators. They learn by watching the people around them, especially the authority figures closest to them. What we say as parents may be important, but it’s not nearly as important as what we do. When our actions are inconsistent with our words–and kids will notice because they are uncannily perceptive–kids will almost always ignore our words and follow our actions.

True obedience is not just a matter od words but of action and follow through. That’s not only true of obeying God; it’s a fact in every area of life, especially our leadership. And it’s never more true in our leadership than in our relationships with our kids. Words are powerful, but actions speak much, much louder and have much more influence on their behavior.

There’s no doubt about it: our children are watching. If you tell your son it’s important to treat women well but are consistently rude to your wife, guess which message will sink in? But if you teach your kids about the importance of honesty and then show how that plays out in your life–by letting the cashier know she gave you too much change, for example–your words and actions line up to send an even more powerful message. Your values, your motives, and your ethics will be passed on to your kids not through your words, but through your actions. Demonstrate who you want them to be, and that’s who they will most likely become. The most effective lessons you teach are the ones you live before others.


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