Parenting is more than talking the talk. It’s also about walking the walk. I know it’s challenging, but we can do it. As Christian parents, we have the unique privilege of training our children in the way of the Lord. God calls us to teach our children to be people who love Him and their neighbors as themselves. To be people who make responsible decisions and have a positive, lasting impact on the world.
But how do we make that happen? It’s in the art of modeling behavior before our children. We can model correct behavior through our words, actions, and general interactions.
Modeling Through Words: We must choose what we say. As the Bible states, life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Also, we must ensure that our words are seasoned with salt and gracious (Colossians 4:6). Moreover, the Proverbs 31 woman (indeed a testament to what wisdom is all about) speaks with kindness. So, to teach our children how to talk (and live) right, we must ensure that what we say aligns with God’s word. He who can bridle the untamable tongue, which is like fire, can also control his body (James 3:6-8). Although challenging, we can be intentional about the words we speak to our children and, in the midst of them, to others.
Modeling Through Actions: In connection with modeling through words, we must model proper behavior for our children through our actions. We must show them what justice looks like. We must also show them what love looks like. We must teach them mercy and forgiveness. When we treat others with love and compassion, our children learn (without us being aware sometimes). While we may teach our children how to be kind through instruction, what love and godliness look like will become more evident when we model it for them. For every child, her dad or mum is her hero. So, we must ensure we act right as our biblical mandate, especially around them.
Modeling Through Interactions: Children watch our relationships and interactions with others. How we interact, especially with our spouses, is essential because it teaches our children how to treat others and might be the foundation for what they believe to be ‘marriage’ later in life. So, we must be careful about our interactions, especially with our spouses.
In modeling, you will only sometimes get it right. You will make mistakes when training your children because of human frailty. Nonetheless, the key is that, since errors are inevitable, you learn how to handle or manage them well. If you make a mistake, apologize, and don’t feel bad;instead, pray. If you slip and are unkind in your words or actions toward your children, you should apologize to them. You should also pray to God to remove the guilt associated with the mistake.
Moreover, remember to put your mistakes in perspective. You love your child, nonetheless. You slipped, as every human being does. So, forgive yourself and teach your child that that behavior was wrong through an earnest apology. After that, try not to repeat that mistake.
Remember to parent through instruction and how you live your life as a godly parent- and you’ll be glad you did.
Akosua Frempong, Ph.D., is a freelance journalist with the Evangelical Press Association. She has worked in journalism on three continents. As part of her journalism experience, she has worked as a broadcast journalist, anchor, and producer. Dr. Frempong is an adjunct journalism professor at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Moreover, she is the founder of Listening Ear Communications, a company that provides excellent, professional journalism to various news media organizations and publications.