Ben is 16 years old. He just started his new job at the ice cream shop in town. His father encouraged him to go out and find ways to earn a consistent income so he can start paying for the things he wants. His father, Dave, says all the right things. His tips on money management are soundproof. All is well. Except Dave hits up the casino every weekend, goes out for drinks with friends a little too often and buys a brand new car every two years despite the fact that all his vehicles rarely get over 40,000 miles. Dave says the right things, but his actions rarely support his statements. Ben notices this.
Children tend to notice the actions of their parents and become confused when they say one thing and do another. More often than not, we follow our parents by what they do, not what they profess. The importance of leading by example is crucial in todays society. Parents should always be cautious of the example they are setting for their children.
I always watched my parents closely. I watched how they handled their marriage which, consequently, will help me handle my own. I watched how they treated other people, I paid attention to how they managed money and I noticed how they loved the Lord. Although their words were valuable, their actions were powerful. Especially when their words and actions coincided. When we grow up watching our parents behave a certain way it only makes sense that we would begin to mimic their behavior. As young children, our mothers and fathers are our heroes, why wouldnt be want to be just like them? Both of my parents are truly inspirational to me and I dont think I will ever stop watching them or seeking them out when I have a question.
As always, the inevitable happens and we get older. We start to develop our own values and morals separate from those of our parents. Yet that doesnt mean that we wont still heed our parents advice and wisdom. So, how do you teach your children to follow your example? And how do you know theyre listening?
It all starts with consistency. You should always want to teach your children the power of their word. When they say theyre going to do something they are essentially making a promise to bring whatever that thing is to fruition. This is no different. Your actions should always support your words.
It may be cliche, but actions really do speak louder than words. Take a look at your own actions and ask yourself Would I want my children to act this way? Thats a good way to gauge the impression you are making on them. You should be acting the way you would want them to act. They want to be just like you one day, so, would you be okay with that?
Never underestimate the influence you have on your children. You may not think theyre paying attention but I can assure you they are.
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