Dr. Mike Oluniyi.
Will you sincerely be able to tell your child to ‘do as I do?’ The mindset of modeling is so important in parenting because most of the things your children will learn from you are not really going to be formally taught like in a school setting. They are going to be taught through informal means, most of which will be non verbal. In other words, most of the virtues that they will learn from you will be through their observation of your ways of life. That means the way you do things as a parent matters. Whether you like it or not, you are like a model for your children. If you have this mindset, you will pay attention to the following as the areas where you may model the right attitudes for your children:
Your Relationship With God.
It is possible for you to deceive outsiders about your relationship with God but you may not really be able to hide the real you from members of your family. Your children will definitely discover how sincere you are in your relationship with God. There is the story of a small boy whom his Sunday school teacher had just finished teaching about tolerance. The teacher explained that Jesus expects us to be able to tolerate the weaknesses of one another. The teacher said further that every true child of God must be tolerant of others because none of us is perfect. The boy raised up his hand and told the teacher that that is possible only in the church but the teacher insisted that it should be practiced everywhere. The boy who is the pastors son reflected after some time and declared that from the look of things, “all of us are actors” the teacher asked for the reason why he said that and he explained that his daddy and mummy always act nice as a loving and peaceful couple in the church, but as soon as they enter the car to go home, trouble starts. According to him, daddy is always shouting at mummy, that’s why he feels that everyone is just an actor that acts nice in the church and shows their true nature at home. The Sunday school teacher could not say anything other than the closing prayer!
You must be able to model the true life of a believer at home, if not, you are just a hypocrite and you can be sure that your children will rebel against your God in the future.
You can successfully model a lot of appropriate godly virtues to your children through the way you relate with your spouse. There is no better way of demonstrating love and acceptance than the way you relate with your spouse. Respect for spouse and others is also a virtue that you can teach your children through the way you relate with your spouse. Your relationship with your wife serves as the laboratory where to demonstrate the practice of so many of the godly values that you may wish to teach your children. Forgiveness is a virtue that virtually everyone preaches but it is so difficult to really practice it by many believers. Your home is the place where it is better taught to your children in the way you treat offenses between you and your spouse.
Your Attitude To Money.
You may successfully model your belief about money to your children through the way you handle money and conduct your financial engagements generally. If you are ready to tell lies, cheat and commit fraud in the course of looking for money, you are only modeling to your children that there is nothing wrong with doing anything to make money. Don’t be surprised that one of them may graduate to actual robbery or be ready to even use human being for rituals or make money.
You must also not because of the search for greener pastures separate from your family for a considerable length of time so that you don’t send the wrong signal to your children that money is more important than the family. Many separate themselves for almost indefinite period of time in search of money that by the time they got money, they had lost their family. Many even eventually lost their family and also did not really make money.
If you are also someone that is careless with money without any considerable serious commitment to investments or savings culture, don’t be surprised if one of your children turn out to be a waster of resources.
The value you place on people will be revealed through the way you relate with them in relationships. Do you just make use of people, only to discard them later? If you are are such a person, you are modeling lack of appreciation of the helpers of their lives. You may discover that one or more of them may actually go beyond your own level by discarding even their spouses.
Your Handling Of Disappointments And Success.
Your life may be used to model to your children that it is only God that will never disappoint them. As for human beings, they should not be surprised if someone they trusted so much ended up disappointing them. Make them to realize that it is in the nature of human beings to disappoint. If they have that mindset, they will not be too hurt when disappointment comes. Model to them too, that their joy should not be dependent on what another human being does. If they do, they will be grossly disappointed and hurt.
…“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,…(Jer.17:5)
Teach them through your own life too, how to handle success. Let them know through your life that it is by the mercy of God that success ultimately comes;
…“I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Your Attitude To Work.
Model your aversion to laziness through the conduct of your life. This is one of the virtues that is difficult to teach your children theoretically. How do you handle your business and that of others?
Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.
Let them know that even walking with God requires some hard work. For instance, you need to sacrifice considerable time that you would have been sleeping, in order to have your quiet time. Let them know that excellence in educational pursuits is also not complementary to laziness.
Attitude To Time.
If you have the model mindset, you will also note that your attitude to time also matters. The scriptures make us to realize that there is time and purpose for everything under the sun. (Eccl.3:1) It is not something that you just teach verbally but they should learn it through the way you handle your time. Do you identify the most important things and give them priority or you just do things as they come? Let them know through the way you handle time that it is the most invaluable commodity in life. Time wasted is gone forever, never to be regained. Let them know that if they while away their youthful days, there will be a time that they will look back with regrets. However, it is better taught with your own life as a model to them.
Your attitude To Integrity.
One of the best ways to teach integrity is to use your life to teach it. For instance most people only tell their children where they got it right in life, you hardly tell others where you failed. Virtually all parents will tell their children that they were on top of the class when they were in primary school, even those who were at the bottom! To teach integrity, you need to model it by telling your children where you missed it. For instance, if as a woman you did not get your degree because you were too much in a hurry to get married, you may use it to counsel your children that they should be patient to finish their education before going into marriage because it may not be as easy to do it once married. You don’t need to create a Superman image about yourself when you are not. Your children will appreciate you more as a person of integrity than someone trying to impress.
You must also pay attention to little things such as telling lies in the presence of your children.
Your attitude about heaven.
The importance of heaven in the journey of the believer is also better modeled by you in your day to day activities. Talk about it, demonstrate your hope for it as well as avoid those things that may make you not to make it. It will be more real when demonstrated at home that anywhere else.