Children are gifts that God has entrusted to parents to faithfully care for. How we rear our kids will deeply impact their lives. This is especially true for fathers. But regardless of being a mom or dad, it isn’t easy to raise children to be godly adults. Here are some practical steps you can take to be an effective example.
Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.
From the time they are little, kids watch their parents like a hawk. They know when you are telling them to “Do as I say, not as I do,” and they don’t like it. Therefore, strive to not set a double standard for children, but live by the same standards and rules you expect your kids to live by. When parents live godly lives their children will be more likely to follow God because they will follow their parents’ example. Often you will hear me say when it comes to parenting and working with kids, “More is caught then taught.” So make your words and actions worth catching!
Listen to your children.
This takes more than just hearing, and involves paying close attention and genuinely caring about what they have to say. If children do not come to their parents for advice or support when they face difficult situations in life, there’s usually a reason. Most likely it is because the parent is not a good listener. Consider James 1:19 (NLT) which says, “…Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
Often, young people simply need to talk and express their frustrations, questions, or concerns. Solving their problems or jumping on their faults and mistakes simply adds more stress to the situation. When they are ready for advice, they will ask for it. Until then, show them that you care for them by listening. Listening to someone is s great way to show them that you love them. There is a quote I love and try to live by; “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Realize that you impact a lot of children beyond your own.
In a society where nearly half of marriages end in divorce, countless kids lack the godly parent or role model that they need. God’s heart breaks for these children. Psalms 68:4-6 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”
You have an incredible opportunity to fulfill that role in the lives of your kids’ friends. By simply welcoming them into your home, giving them some food, and listening to what they are going through, you may change the life of someone who has never experienced the unconditional love of a parent.
So mom and dad, you can make an impact and you certainly can influence your children and other children in many ways. God has blessed you as a parent with this ministry, to live a life worth following after, to be there to listen to your kids and their friends and thereby impact their lives for good.