I noticed something about my son (now 5 plus) – he often watches with keen interest most of the things that we do at home. Many times he has done certain things which I am noted for and I do not need to ask “where did he get that from?” So, the slogan in my home is “whatever you will not want him to do, do not do it in his presence.”
The younger sister too (now a year plus) is taking from him. The other day she (then 8 months plus) attempted to open the glass shelve with one hand and a DVD in the other hand. She was obviously attempting to play the disc just as she has been seeing us do.
No doubt, this is very common in every home. Our kids watch and take after us, if not soon, later in life. A child who grew up in a house where the parents are always quarreling and fighting is watching keenly. Such a child is most likely to have imbibed the attitude of aggressiveness, malice-keeping and fighting, even over very minor issues. When he/she gets married, a replay of what used to happen back at home is most likely to take place in their homes too.
Our children are watching everything we do – our dress culture, kind of friends we keep, groups we belong to, films we watch, places we go to, the way we walk, the way we talk, our comportment, attitude to life/work, likes/dislikes, the way we eat and even the way we sleep. For a father who is used to sleeping out and night clubbing, a free ticket to sleeping out and constant night clubbing has unknowingly been given to his children. In fact, sleeping out becomes a way of life. I know of a boy who took to alcoholism because “my dad cannot stop me because he is a born-drunkard!” I think it makes a lot of sense. In fact, they are consciously or unconsciously watching and learning from our (parents’) life styles !
How does a parent go about cautioning the child when he/she is neck-dip in the same practice. How does a father (or mother) who is a known robber or fraudster be able to “make a noise” when his child is caught in such acts? Can a mother who does not see anything wrong in nudity caution her daughter for the same act? Would it be morally right for a chain-smoking father to raise alarm if he catches his child sniffing cocaine or using any other hard drug?
Check out what our Lord Jesus says about this : “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matt 7:3)
It also reminds me of the encounter our Lord Jesus had with the Scribes and Pharisees over the woman who committed adultery. He said : “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7).
Thus, parenting requires a lot of care, caution, responsibility and role-modelling on our part. Children are fast learners, especially as it relates to what they see around them. We therefore should be able to “cast a stone” without a feeling of guilt and should be able to help our children remove the “mote” in their eyes without someone telling us to remove the “beam” from our own eyes first.
May God Almighty help us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)…amen !!!
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