It is a well-known (but often understated) fact that mothers have a strong influence in the lives of their children. The following 5 things are just a few of the “better caught than taught” behaviors I feel strongly need to be modeled for mine.
- Loving Daddy
Yesterday, I asked my daughter, “How do you know that Daddy loves me?” She replied, “Because you kiss him whenever you want!” (Has someone showed her Sweet Home Alabama, or what?) She notices and needs to see this sweetness and affection shared between the two of us. My kids must see me respectfully encouraging his leadership in quiet submission and loving him in the quiet, less noticeable ways. The ways that change my home and give my children their perspective on marriage. My daughter talks often of getting married and having a family. I’d like to think it’s because we have so much love and so much fun in our house! More than anyone else, we are forming her views on the world and on marriage and family.
We take advantage of the affordability of house help here because it frees me up for language study and family time, provides an in-home Nepali speaker, and gives us influence on an unsaved or newly saved person. But I don’t want my children to think that the only person working in our home is our house helper! Some jobs are only mommy jobs and I will do any job that needs to be done at any time. My kids need to learn that habitual laziness is not acceptable and that hard work won’t kill ’em!
- Reading my Bible
I remember seeing my mom every morning, sitting by the small lamp light, coffee in hand, reading her Bible. While she never drew attention to this habit or forced it on me, she encouraged me to read the Word by her faithful testimony. I want to do the same for my children. These days, it’s so easy to just read on a device. However, my children need to know that I am reading my Bible and not scrolling through my Facebook feed. And that can only be evident with the Holy Bible in written form (English…Nepali…or both!) open before me.
My children need to see mommy as a giver of all that has been given to me. This can be complicated in missionary life where our income comes from the gift of others, we are sent care packages while on the field and spoiled like crazy when we are on furlough. When the plate is passed, my hands need to be putting something in. When I am presented with the needs of others, my heart needs to be stirred into action. When we partake in the gifts God has given us, we need to share them. My life needs to be an overflowing fountain of the grace of God seeping into the lives of those around me. The people I know need to live better for knowing me and my children need to be more generous for observing my giving spirit.
- Forgiving and Asking forgiveness
This is so big and has presented itself so many times over the past several months. I have to model forgiveness in giving and receiving. When I am wronged, I need to display a spirit of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t have to be deserved or requested to be given. And thankfully so. Tensions have run high around our house when we have been under the great stress of an international move, natural disasters, and economic crises. My attitude and tongue have gotten away from me, and I have had to ask for forgiveness. It is difficult to admit wrong, but my kids need to see this. They need to know that mommy is imperfect, saved by the grace of God, doing my best, making mistakes and in need of grace. They should understand the love and forgiveness of Christ by what is modeled in our home.
I can’t control who my children turn out to be or even if they choose to accept Christ and serve Him with their lives. But I can control what, rather WHO, they see in me. Always praying that He will ultimately make the difference in their lives, and that, just maybe, He would use me to do it. I can think of few greater honors.
What behaviors do you believe you should model for your children?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!