“To train a boy in the way he should go you must go that way yourself.”
– Billy Sunday
Billy Sunday Quote Commentary – Being an Example
If you are a parent, you have to realize that your kids are always paying attention to you. They are learning from you. They learn their principles from you. They get an understanding of not just how the world is but how it should be, all courtesy of your words and your actions. Unfortunately, too many parents think that they only need to say the right words or point their kids to the right direction with their advice and requests and their kids will turn out right. Well, children now are the same as children thousands of years ago. They are easier to motivate based on actions they see and lives played out in front of them instead of the loftiest words. You can keep talking about what your kids should do until you are blue in the face, but if they don’t see the lessons you are trying to teach acted out in your own life, you won’t be making much progress.
Be the lesson you want to teach
As Billy Sunday said, to train a child in the way that child should go, you have to have walked that path yourself. You have to be the model of the sermons you give to your kids. Otherwise, the words leaving your mouth will be exactly that, just words. Empty words don’t change lives. Words that are not anchored to lived experience that can be observed are merely theoretical and often fall between the cracks. Make no mistake about it, you are caught in a war with the world for your child’s values. Don’t let someone else’s values take hold in the lives of your kids because you can’t, won’t, or couldn’t walk the path you so eagerly prescribe to your children. You have to embody the lesson you want to teach your kids.
Do your part in reducing the world’s population of hypocrisy
To be frank, hypocrisy is learned behavior. Kids learn it from their parents. When there is a big gap between what you say is right and what you actually do, you not only fail to train your kids up right but you’re actually training them to be hypocrites. The reason the world has so much pain, fear, anxiety, and sadness is the fact that there are already too many hypocrites. Do your part in reducing this population by refusing to become one and refusing to recruit your kids into hypocrisy through your actions.