One of the leadership publications I receive reported the story about two women who were charged with misdemeanors after they got into a brawl during a Victorville, Califonia, kindergarten graduation ceremony.
Police say the women, 31 and 29, were arguing; then it got physical. The fight took place in a field near the ceremony at Puesta del Sol Elementary. According to an August 4, 2010, AP story, "Several men got involved and the incident turned into a brawl, forcing school officials to place the school on lockdown until deputies sorted things out. No one was hurt."
My first thought about this story is that it gives a whole new meaning to the old idea, “No fighting in school.” I guess someone needs to tell parents that they can’t fight in school either! As my mother used to say, “who would have ever thunk it?”
The Bible tells us that parents are to train their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. “ (Ephesians 6:4) The Greek word for “discipline” in this passage is “paideia.” It involves the whole training and education of children. It includes whatever adults have learned that “cultivates the soul by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.”
It is highly possible that one reason many children are completely out of control is because parents have never learned to curb their own passions (ie. the two women fighting). One of the inescapable truths of raising children is that they learn as much or more from what parents do then what parents say.
If children hear parents say don’t lie but they see their parents being untruthful they might just grow up being untruthful.
If children hear parents say that we should always put Jesus first in our lives, but they see their parents put work, family, friends, social events/activities above the Lord, they might just grow up and quit being involved in church.
If children hear parents say don’t fight, then they go to a kindergarten ceremony and see their parents fighting, they might just grow up with anger issues, etc.
Our children will most definitely grow up and become what they see in us and not just what they hear from us. The example/model that we are is vital to what our children will be.
We need to show our children what it means to live like Jesus and not just tell them about Jesus. There is an old adage that is very true, “I cannot hear what you are saying because what you are keeps ringing in my ears.”
Dear Father, help those of us who are parents and grandparents to remember that what we are is just as important as what we say. May we be the kind of example that they need to help them navigate this difficult world. Dear God, help us to show Jesus to our children and not just tell them about Jesus.