“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 gives us guidance of what to give our children in order to equip them to live faith-filled lives, but what happens if we don’t start well?
I’m the baby of my family by several years. When my sisters and I were little, I was often left out of situations and experiences, but I was a witness to much. One pushed the other and broke a window. (It wasn’t as violent as it sounds.) One took the farm truck and got stuck in a field road. They had friends at the house even though our parents had said no visitors. Chores didn’t get done. The list goes on.
They knew things I did wrong, too. To tattle or not to tattle? To follow the example or follow instruction?
I didn’t tattle often – because I got bribes. The funny thing is my parents found out most everything anyway. When there’s a broken window or a truck out of place, it doesn’t take long to discover.
Fast forward a generation. I don’t think I’ve ever told my daughters “do what I say, not what I do,” but I know there have been many contradictions between what I said and did. Despite all their good qualities and habits, there have been times I’ve thought, “Of all things, did they have to pick up that from me?!”
Our lives will be contradictory. We don’t realize every contradiction, but what do we do with the ones we notice? Consider what hypocrisies annoy or pain you in others. What contradictions are in your own life? You don’t have to be perfect, but in order to teach your children (and others), you have to be willing to be taught. Start today.