Continuing from Part 3……(Click here to start at Part 1)

Third, we must live by EXAMPLE. 

This is one aspect I have learned the hard way.  As our older 2 children grew into their preschool years, I began to see behaviors and hear comments which I couldn’t figure out from where they derived.  They weren’t necessarily inappropriate things, just things that would surprise me to hear or see from a 2 or 3 year old.  I would ask my husband if he knew where they learned such things.  It almost never failed that they were learning these things from ME! 

Your children are truly a reflection of you.  This can be good or bad, depending on your strengths and weaknesses.  Young children in particular can be a mirror image of their parents.  When S and I realized this issue, we sat down and had some in depth conversations about what we needed to change in ourselves to prevent or encourage our childrens’ behavior.  While we didn’t swear, we used words that might not sound as appropriate coming from a 2 year old, so we helped each other stop using those words.  When I was having trouble getting the children to make their beds, I realized it was because I didn’t make mine.  Once I started making my own bed, my children quickly followed in my example. 

Though I could not find scripture with direct references to this topic, there are many stories relating.  Isaac followed in Abrahams footsteps, and made similar types of mistakes like lying.  We can see similiarities on down the line from Jesse to David to Solomon.  The point here is that, if you are having trouble with your children, you need to learn to look at them like a mirror.  Rather than being quick to correct the child, pray, seek counsel from your spouse, and look inside yourself to see if you can discover a deeper root of the problem. 

As if that idea wasn’t frightening enough, I am quickly learning that this self-changing process is a long-term thing with an ever-expanding list!  The older my children get, the more their understanding increases, and the more of myself–good and bad–I see in them.  There is no doubt that the areas I have the most trouble in training my children, are the same areas that I consider to be my personal weakest areas.  Until I can make the necessary changes, and allow God to give me strength in those areas, I cannot expect my children to be much better.

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