WHAT IT MEANS
Parents who set the example live by what they teach. For instance, you could hardly expect your son to be truthful if he overheard you say, “Tell him I’m not home,” when you do not want to speak to someone at the door.
“A common saying is ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ But that approach doesn’t work with children. They are like sponges that absorb everything we say and do, and they will tell us when our example isn’t consistent with what we try to teach them.”—David.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “You, the one preaching, ‘Do not steal,’ do you steal?”—Romans 2:21.
WHY IT MATTERS
Children and even teenagers are influenced more by their parents than by anyone else—including their peers. That means you are in the primary position to guide your children in the right way—provided, of course, that you practice what you preach.
“We can repeat something a hundred times and wonder if our child is listening, but the one time we don’t do as we say, the child will point it out. Children pay attention to everything we do, even when we don’t think they do.”—Nicole.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “The wisdom from above is . . . not hypocritical.”—James 3:17.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Examine your own standards. What type of entertainment do you watch? How do you treat your spouse and children? What kind of friends do you have? Are you thoughtful of others? In short, are you the kind of person you want your children to become?
“My husband and I don’t hold our children to a standard that we ourselves don’t live by.”—Christine.
Apologize for your mistakes. Your children already know that you are not perfect. By saying “I’m sorry” when appropriate—both to your spouse and to your children—you will provide a valuable lesson in honesty and humility.
“Our children need to hear us admit when we are wrong, and they need to hear us apologize for our error. If we don’t, they will only learn to cover over their mistakes.”—Robin.
“As parents, we have the greatest influence on our children, and our example is the greatest tool we have because they see it all the time. It’s the book that’s always open, the lesson that’s always being taught.”—Wendell.