By. Joel Beeke
Though children learn from what we say, they learn even more from who we are and what we do. Our faith, our praying, our teaching, and our living must be parts of a seamless whole. Thus, the implementation of our teaching as parent-prophets necessitates godly modeling.
The preeminent godly model for us as parent-prophets is the Lord Jesus, who excelled all others as a true prophet, teacher, fisher of men, and maker of disciples. We do well to make a personal study of the Gospels with an eye to how Christ went about training His disciples. A good teacher looks for good models and constantly strives to hone his skills and improve his methods. Christ provides us with the very best model and abundant resources to draw upon as we take up the work of teaching and training our children.
Children are not looking for perfect parents, and they are remarkably forgiving. They have an uncanny way of knowing who their parents are and what they stand for. It is hard to keep secrets from anyone when we live under the same roof. Children are always reading the books of our lives. Besides the Bible, the way we live our faith from day to day is the most important book our children will ever read.
What children need to see is not a perfect mom or dad, and certainly not a mom or dad who never says, “I’m sorry.” They need to see in us an unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ, an unconditional love for them, and a strong bond of love for each other as husband and wife. They need to see a mom and dad laboring shoulder to shoulder, of whom the children can say: “My mom and dad hate sin, they love God, and their only hope is in Christ Jesus. They want with all that is within them to live holy and godly lives. I can see it, I can feel it; I know it is true and it is real, and I want to be like them. I want the God of my father and mother to be my God.” In particular, godly modeling should instill in our children the conviction that the Christian life is the way to live and that it brings true joy, true purpose, and true meaning in life, and awaken in them a kind of holy jealousy to want these things for themselves. As our children read the books of our lives, they learn how important God, Christ, the Bible, faith, prayer, and family worship are to us.