“ The best way for a man to train up a child in the way that he should go is to travel that way himself.” – source unknown

Too bad the individual who penned this particular quote is not known. I say that because he or she was right on the mark. The problem is that even though all of us parents know the complete truth of setting the right examples in life, it is still just so stinkin’ hard to do sometimes isn’t it?

For example, I have never been known to be what is referred to as a “defensive driver.”  I am not proud to admit it, but it is probably much more accurate of a statement to say that I am the kind of driver that is the reason why others need to drive defensively. Why is that you say? Well, because I am impatient and aggressive behind the wheel. Never thought too much about that until my kids all started approaching sixteen years of age when they would soon be at the helm of a vehicle. When that time came with our oldest child, I can vividly remember while driving saying things like “Now I know that I just did that, but don’t you ever do that when you start driving.”  I am sure my son was thinking “Huh?”  Definitely not one of my shining moments as a parent.

And how many times have we heard parents mutter the commonly known expression “Do as I say, not as I do!”  That little cliché might sound clever but it just doesn’t work. You show me a dad whose kid sees him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth when they are tykes and I will show you a kid who is sneaking a smoke out in the woods at around age ten or eleven.

Show me a mom and dad who curse regularly and I will show you a toddler who is letting the expletives drop on a semi-regular basis.

Here is one that many of us suffer from but we just don’t like to talk about as much…show me a parent who overeats or eats the wrong foods and I will show you kids who also will tend to struggle with their weight. I myself experience this one. I grew up in a home in which mom was a fabulous cook, desserts were offered up for everyone after a huge meal every evening and wala…..a pattern was established. One that needs to be broken.

On the positive side, kids will also copy positive things. If Johnny sees Dad reading the Bible and praying every day, he is going to have his nose in the good Book as well.

If Susie sees mom always helping and giving to others, she will be wanting to help with dishes at home and will be the first to start cleaning up toys at her friend’s house.

I have heard it said that someone is almost always watching us and learning from our behavior and those little eyes and ears on the heads of those babes that we gave birth to are in the front row of the audience as they watch us in this show called life. They observe, they learn, and most scary of all… they emulate. Lord...help us to remember this truth !

Proverbs 4:3-5   For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother, He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline  from the words of my mouth.