As we prepare to face the month focused on love, I’ve turned the word love into an acrostic of parenting tips to help you intentionally train your children! We’ll cover L and O in the first devotional and V and E in the second one.
Lead by Example
When thinking of the adults your children will become, what characteristics do you want them to have?
Integrity? Faithfulness? Leadership? Servanthood? Resilience?
Remember, our children learn who to become from watching us.
Let’s focus on integrity. If you desire integrity from your children, you must consistently do the right thing no matter where you are, showing them what living with integrity looks like.
- In your car when someone cuts you off, do you use the same language as you do when you teach Sunday school?
- In the customer service line at Walmart, do you have the same patience you have with your boss who takes a couple of days to get back to you with a response email to an urgent issue?
- When you instruct your children to be honest when they do the wrong thing, do you model that when you accidentally bump into someone else’s car in a parking lot?
Our actions exemplify our character qualities. It’s not realistic to hold yourself to an unreachable standard, follow Jesus’ life by reading about Him and talking to Him about your decisions. You’ll become more and more like Him the more time you spend with Him. This means your children, if they’re following your example, will do the same.
The character quality of servanthood requires hard work and self-sacrifice. If you want your children to serve each other, their teachers and classmates, and eventually their spouses and children… guess what? Yup! You need to model it.
There are parents who take the first helpings of food, believing their children will finish the food off if they don’t. What if, instead of putting yourself first, you serve your children first, explaining the example you’re setting and why? I bet your children will follow suit and be more attentive to the size of their helpings.
Of course, we should let the elderly woman go first in the grocery store line. What about letting your children take the first shower, knowing your shower will be a little chillier.
People notice we love them when we give ourselves and what is “ours” up for them. Sacrificing time to Lead by Example and to put Others First shows our children love in an intentional way!
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8
How can you lead by example and serve others in your family first this week?