We enter 2014 fresh from reports of protests, strikes and violence. We have witnessed many alcohol fueled parties and heard the loud music from these celebrations in our supposedly dry state. When government servants are expected to be biased towards their own community, corruption becoming so blatant that a lot of wives, kith and kin are awarded government contracts and violence can take the life of school child like Akivito A Sumi, its time society needs to ask itself what we are teaching the children of Nagaland. The foundation of almost everyone’s value system does not start from the teachers, the friends and the social media influence, it begins at home. Parents are the true role models for the children and ultimately our Nagas need to know how to be good parents.
Parents Are Powerful Role Models
An important foundation of good character is a good family. What we believe and practice at home portrays our true character. Children's character development certainly cannot come from the classroom alone. Character develops through interplay of family, schools, churches, community influence, and the child's individual temperament, experiences, and choices.
Parents are the first teachers of a child, and therefore, parents are their children’s strongest role model and greatest influence. Your children will sooner or later adopt many of your values and behaviour, just as you have been influenced by your parents. Your children notice and respond to the way you deal with problems, express feelings and celebrate special occasions. As a parent, it is impossible not to model. Your children will take your example—positive or negative—as a pattern for the way to live their life.
The story is told of a mother crab who wanted her daughter to walk straight and so, everyday she took her to observe how a cow walks. After many days of such observation, the mother crab thought her daughter would have learnt to walk straight. To her utter disappointment, however, the daughter still walked with her legs crooked. The mother crab, unable to hide her displeasure, scolded her daughter for not being able to walk straight but the daughter replied, “Mama, I only copied how you walked.” Of course, the mother crab could not say anything more.
Every parent can be certain that their children will grow up inculcating some, if not all, of the habits and values of their parents. It is so much easier to dole out “don’ts” to our children: “Don’t smoke, Don’t drink and drive, Don’t take drugs, Don’t lie, Don’t cheat. However, it takes much more effort and discipline to practice what we preach. It takes a strong character to be a good role model for our kids but it is a must, as children copy their parents much more than we may realize.
What do you think are the most important things parents can do to help their children stay strong in character and faith?
Whether you accept it or not, being a parent, you are a leader and role model for your child. One of the best things you can do as a parent is to strive to live a model life that is worthy for your children to follow. As Christian parents it is very important to know and follow some of the important values in lives. The Apostle Paul teaches children to obey and honor their parents, according to the Fifth Commandment (Old Testament). At the same time, he tells the fathers not to provoke their children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4). He repeats the same advice in Colossians 3:20-21.
And above all, imitate Christ so that you can say with confidence to your children, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Here are 5 things you should model for your children:
1. Model Consistency. Whether you are with family, friends, or co-workers, your child needs to see that you are the same person wherever you are and whoever you are with. Your child needs to know that you are genuine and not a fake person whose personality is constantly changing so that he/she will respect you and imitate you. Kids respect adults who walk their talk. Credible adults inspire kids’ confidence and admiration. Hypocrisy disillusions children and sends them looking for others to follow. “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.” Titus 2:7, 8.
2. Model Self-denial. It is easy to live a life that’s focused on “me.” Your child needs to see that you are willing to sacrifice buying things and doing things that would give you comfort and pleasure. The Bible also teaches, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Phil 2:3-4
3. Model Honour. If you want your child to honour and respect you, then show your child how it is done. Honour your mother and father. Treat your wife and children with love and respect. It is your responsibility to instruct your children in their understanding of the world and everything in it using God's revelation as the basis by which they can analyze and respond to life's challenges and opportunities. The Bible instructs in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” It is the father who is essential for sending his children into the world with a biblical view of reality and a faith in Jesus Christ that is rooted in solid understanding and not merely blind tradition.
4. Model control over words. Words matter. As a role model, you need to chain your tongue, tame it, and train it. Make sure the words that come out of your mouth toward your spouse, your child, your friends, and even your enemies are respectful and kind. Colossians 3:21 is clear on this, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, lest they become discouraged.”
5. Model appropriate actions. Your child is always watching. Your child sees the kind of movies and television shows you watch, notices the music you listen to, the people you associate with, the way you drive, and the way you treat your spouse and other people. Your child’s actions will often be a reflection of your actions, so be the best role model, then you will have lesser things to worry about in the future, as the Bible guarantees, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. If you want someone to act a certain way, be sure that you live that way yourself. Then you will earn the right to be heard, and your life will reinforce what you teach.
In this age of degrading morals and conflicting value systems, the challenge of parents to live up to God’s purpose for them and their children has never been greater. Each and every day, parents build a legacy for their children to inherit. What is the legacy you are leaving for the generations to follow? The society needs you to make an important decision. Will you choose to be a parent who role models family traits and Christian values worth believing in and worth building upon? “And now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good for doing His will… through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21.
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