Jesus often used object lessons to communicate to his audience.
Visually communicated truth is far more powerful than mere stated truth.
Here are 10 things my children need to see me doing (in no particular order):
I can't expect to ask my children to pray if I'm not praying. Take time every day to pray (be it standing, sitting, kneeling, at home, on the road, etc.). Whether you have a space and time when you do this, and your children are aware of it, or whether you decide to do it together, the idea is to make it a priority! Teach them that it's a privilege to be able to have a relationship and communicate the desires and yearnings of our heart with a God who hears us and loves us!
Call it worship, call it praise, my children need to see (and hear) me doing it. And not just for the sake of doing it, of course. Praise is a lifestyle. The songs I sing and the melodies I bring forth need to flow from a heart filled with gratitude and devotion to the Lord. At home, in the car driving, at the store, and everywhere in between. Do you have breath? Praise the Lord! Psalm 95:1 - O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Reading the Bible
Reading the Word of God is a pillar for a (spiritually) healthy family. My son Levy recently found an old Our Daily Bread booklet and has been carrying it around with him everywhere. At the end of last year he had a small Bible that he carried around and he made it clear to all of us in the house that it was his! These are just a few positive examples of the impact reading the Bible can have on children, from a young age. What I pray is that they will one day get a taste of this awesome love letter our Father has sent us and never look back!
I'll admit, this is a little tougher for me and a work in progress. Our children, especially boys, need to see that it's not just a woman's job (i.e. their mom) to maintain the house, clean the dishes, fold the laundry and so on. Everyone in the family is responsible for this. It makes a strong(er) impact if I'm the one to lead by example. (Lord, help me. Can I get an Amen from my brothers out there?)
Loving My Wife (Their Mother)
I would place this at the top or near the top of the list. There's nothing better I can do for my boys then to love Daniela the way God calls me as a husband to love her. If I follow the example of Jesus Christ, it will set a precedent in their life of what it means to honor and cherish their future spouse. Don't leave it up to secular culture to teach them about love and relationships. Show them the good and Godly way!
It doesn't matter if your work involves using your hands and tools to assemble engines, sitting at a computer designing the engine or managing the operations that delivers the engine. I need to show my children that work is important and not to be despised. If they're young, get them involved in the work and projects you do around the house. If they're old enough to work, help them with a resume, some interviewing tips, maybe a list of potential employers and send them on their way!
From my own experience growing up, to my time as a husband and father, and throughout my years of observing close family and friends, I can say without a doubt that it's the father's responsibility to set the tone in the family. And one of the most important 'tones' is joy and laughter. Tell them that God rejoices over us, His children, tremendously. Be ready at all times to laugh while sharing good stories, traveling, playing fun games & activities, watching good movies, telling (clean) jokes, or simply just enjoying one another's company. Psalms 126:2 - Then our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord had done great things for them.”
My children need to see me giving; Giving of myself, my time, my resources, my gifts, and so on. Teach them that life is not all about us. Want them to be less selfish and self-centered? Show them, don't tell them...give! Tell them that God is the ultimate Giver; He gave us His only son, Jesus, because He loved us so much.
Have your children ever seen you crying? Crying for joy before the Lord. Crying in prayer of intercession for someone that's sick and in need. Crying out to God in worship. It has a binding effect. Crying can have a special impact on the emotional development of our children. I need to show them that it's ok to show my emotions and to be vulnerable before God and people. Psalm 145:19 - He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
Leading falls into many categories in life but if I get down to basics, my children need to see me making wise decisions, standing up for what's right, following the ways of God, and clearing the paths (figuratively speaking) so they can grow in righteousness. If they see me as undecided, weak and following after the paths of my own flesh, they are more likely to do the same. To lead my children and family well I need to follow God well.
Keep the Fire Burning,
with Danny & Daniela Kovacs
No family is an island. Join us as we share candid discussions, Biblical advice & resources to help keep God at the center of your faith, family and career.