Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Role Models for Our Children

We live in a world that is obsessed with celebrity.  Whether it be sports stars, singers, or movie stars, we just can not seem to get enough.  We have grown to worship celebrity to the point that by virtue of their celebrity we see them as some kind of an oracle on all issues facing the world.  And we allow our children to look up to them as role models.  We even say they have some kind of responsibility because they are rich and famous to be some kind of role model for our children. They are not responsible for your children at all.

Some parents even like to think that these celebrities are the cause of their children stumbling.  Children are not meant for surrogate role models.  Would you trust your child to look up the illusion of Miley Cyrus created by a marketing team for Disney?  Would you let them look up to a sports star?  How about a musician?  I guess you would if you want your child to grow up to be a movie star, football player, or musician, but if you want your children to grow up to be men and women of God they need to look up to men and women of God.  They need to be able to look up to you!  How angry do I hear even Christian parents get when the latest child celebrity or sports star gets caught up in some scandal.   But why would you get angry?  Is Miley Cyrus appointed by God to be a role model for your child?  Is LeBron James anointed to raise your children?  Is Disney a Christian ministry with the call to reach out to young children for God?  Of course the answer is NO!  They are not accountable for your children at all.  They may be accountable for things they do in their lives, but only YOU are accountable for your own children.  You are accountable for the influences you allow into their lives.  Please do not let your child imitate the things of the world.  Movies, television, music, and sports are for entertainment and recreation. Parents are for mentoring.  Your child may be a fan of a celebrity but that's where it needs to end. They need to look up to you. 

It is clear in Scripture that parents are the God-chosen role models for their children:
My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;

For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.  Proverbs 1:8-9 NKJV
While this passage may be directed at the child, it is equally applicable to adults.  Look how the Bible describes your teaching: "a graceful ornament and chains around (their necks)."   Ephesians 6:4 admonishes fathers to raise their children in the instruction of the Lord.  Proverbs 22:6 states "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. "  It is your job, parent, to raise your child. 

If our example is Jesus, then training up our children means being their role models.  For a Christian, training is not by command and it is certainly not a "do as I say not as I do" attitude.  We are to live our faith not just preach it.  You need to set the example to our children. 
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Ephesians 5:1 NKJV
We need to imitate the example of Jesus as children imitate their parents.  It is no secret that children like to imitate their parents.  Young girls like to play dress up and young boys like to get out their "tools" and help their fathers.  They naturally look up to you and follow your example, for good or for bad.  We all know that for the most part a boy will treat his future wife the way he saw his father treat his wife and that young girls will seek men to treat them the way they saw their fathers treat their mothers.

So keep that in mind, you are the model your child will follow.  Husbands how do you treat your wives? Wives how do you treat your husband?  How do you live your lives?  Are you Sunday Christians or are you truly living the Christian life?  Do you pray with your children? Do you read the Bible with them?  Do you teach them about right and wrong in the context of God's Word?  Do you follow the precepts in God's Word as an example to your children? 

Do you drink or get drunk in front of your children?  Do you use foul language?  Do you show outbursts of anger?  Are you respectful to others?  Do you play violent video games in front of them? Do you watch inappropriate movies?  Maybe you put your children to bed or only do that when they are not around and you think that is ok. But is it?  If you are not comfortable doing it in front of your children because it sets a bad example then why are you doing it at all?  Is secret sin any less sin?  Or are you setting the example to your children that sin is ok as long as they hide it? 

Remember, what you do sets their foundation.   You can not expect your child to grow into a man or woman of God if you are not a man or woman of God.  You can not expect them to lead victorious Christian lives if that is not the example you set.  You can not just expect them to follow your words if you do not live those words yourself.

Children are very important to Jesus and so they should be to us.  Setting a bad example can cause them to stumble in their own relationships with Jesus as they grow older.  Your job is to introduce them to Jesus and to nurture their relationship with him to build that foundation of God's love.  Colossians 3:1 warns fathers about hurting their relationship with Jesus "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged."  Jesus warns us all about causing them to stumble:
"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea." Mark 9:42
You, parent, have a wonderful gift in that precious child God has entrusted you with.  Children are a blessing of the Lord.  You need to take that calling seriously.  Remember the man or woman your child will become in the future depends largely on who you are today.  Children are imitators of you, be imitators of Christ.  You and your children and even your children's children will be blessed.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127:3-5 NKJV

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this word! It is so important for us to be the most influential people in our children's lives...even in the lives of our nieces and nephews and other kids we are close to!