4 Reasons More Is Caught Than Taught

“If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.”

– Charles Spurgeon

Can’t Hear You

If your words don’t match your actions, then your children can’t hear what you’re saying because your actions are drowning out your words. I know, I’ve done it, but this should give us pause to reflect on what we do can be more important than what we say, as experience has proven that more is caught than is taught. They might not do what you say but do what you do, so our examples are of supreme importance.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The old expression, “monkey see, monkey do” is perfectly appropriate for parents, foster parents, and grandparents. That expression means that they will repeat what you do and not what you say. If we aren’t working with our children when they’re young, we’ll be spending a lot more time with our children, like in court. They will see what you do and tend to believe that it must be okay to lie and say “Tell them I’m not home” when someone calls and asks for them. When they see you drive over the speed limit, they’ll think its okay for them to bend or break the rules.


We can’t invest in anything more important than the souls of our children and grandchildren but we must start early. If we neglect our duties as a parent to instill in them the laws of God when they’re young, then they’ll see God’s laws as irrelevant to their lives. Invest in their lives while they’re young or you’ll invest a lot more time and money than you want.


If your children see you are not going to compromise with sin or with God’s law, they’ll see that it must be important. They might not tell you that they’re watching, but believe me, they are! They see a lot more than we give them credit for. If we hedge on things in life, they’ll see the model or pattern of behavior for their lives. Scary, isn’t it?


Children’s duty is to obey their parents because this is commanded, but parents must honor their own parents (Eph 6:1), whether they deserve it or not, because none of us deserved God’s mercy. We must remember that they can’t hear our words if our actions don’t match our words and they can see if and when we compromise with sin and think it must be okay so they need our time and energy so that we can invest it in their future, and we should model godly behavior, honoring our parents and leaving them an example to do the same, because if we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up because more is caught that is taught.