Do As I Do
As a person in my 40’s, I’m at the age where my peers wake up one day and have a light bulb moment: “I have become my mother (or father, for guys).” This revelation for the most part is not usually accompanied with delight but rather with dismay. Why is this? It’s because we recognize negative character traits in us that we saw in our parent growing up…..traits which we despised and which caused us to declare we’d never be like them.
Now, having read a bit more and observed a bit more, I have found out that the key reason we end up becoming our parents is because it is the natural outcome of observing them for all the years we were growing up. The only way to avoid replicating those negative traits is to acknowledge the likelihood of doing just that and consciously fighting those tendencies in ourselves. There is also a need to forgive our parent where the traits in question caused us pain.
I choose to break the cycle not by power nor by might but by the Spirit of God at work in me, washing me clean with the water of the Word. Because I know I have the tendency to be critical, I will keep feeding my mind with scriptures that say how I should speak and maintain a consciousness of my speech so that I am quickly aware when I mess up and I can correct myself and keep getting better.
Today, I made a determination to allow the Word of God work on those negative traits in me and change me so that I might be the kind of person that my children would be delighted to resemble when they are my age. I choose to change the image my children are looking at daily because they will mirror the ‘me’ they see, not the image I try to portray when I correct or scold them. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work because the greatest part of training our children is modeling what we want them to become as adults.
If I want my children to be avid readers, do they ever see me reading any books? If I am praying for my children to be compassionate human beings, are they observing compassion in me? If I am praying for them to pursue God with all their hearts and live sold out for Him, are they seeing me do this? I personally believe that one major reason why children of some preachers end up on the wrong tracks is because what they heard from their preacher parents did not match what they observed daily in them so they either mirrored what they actually saw or they became disillusioned with Christianity and wanted nothing to do with it.
Since the Jesus our children see first is in us, we must take seriously the responsibility to model Christ-likeness to them. The secret is to want to know and be like Christ because if we have this desire and we pursue it, we will invariably model this to them. So let’s look into the mirror of the Word, see the areas that need change and surrender those areas to the Holy Spirit to work the change in us. He is our Helper and delights in helping us grow into the image of Christ.
Let’s be the example of what we want to see in our children.