Parents Are Always Teaching

Recently, we were able to spend a little time with some young friends of ours, Thomas and Beth. They are parents of three young children ages seven, three, and one. You can tell that they are doing a good job as parents. We met in a public restaurant and even though the kids tagged along, we were able to have a substantive conversation. It was fun to be with the whole family.

Beth is a wise little mom who has been home-schooling Caleb, the oldest. As they look at the fall, they are thinking of enrolling him in a day school program. In talking about the change in venue for his education, she made this very true statement: “but I will always be teaching.”

And she is right. Parents are always teaching their children.

Since that conversation, I have given some thought to the three main things that we teach our children. Here are my three. I encourage you to comment and add your own thoughts to our discussion.

1.    We teach what is important. As our kids watch us invest our time, our energy, and our money, they learn what we think is important. Do this little exercise to get some hints on what you are really teaching your kids. Look at your calendar—where has your time gone? Look at your checkbook—where has your money gone? Make a note of your accomplishments this past month—where has your energy gone? How you answer these three questions will give you a good indicator of what you think is important. That’s what your kids are learning.

2.    We teach attitude. They see us react to numerous situations, many that don’t go our way or that don’t go according to our liking. As they watch and listen they are learning attitude. They are learning to trust God or not to. They are learning to gripe or to praise. They are learning a mindset toward life.

3.    We teach what we know. A thousand little things that occur each day are taught almost by osmosis. They just catch it. How we dress, how we brush teeth, how we organize, how we laugh, how we speak. Social graces, manners, choices of words, and on and on.

So you see that we are always teaching and our kids are always learning. If you are like us, you will get some of this stuff right, and you will fall short on too many things to mention. So let’s get the most important thing right. 1 Corinthians 3: 20-23 summarizes it this way:

“The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether . . .  the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

More than anything else, let’s make sure that we live belonging to Christ.