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Steve Morrison tells a story about a friend of his who likes to read fairy tales to his two young sons at night. This friend has great sense of humor and often times ad-libs parts of the stories just for fun. One day his youngest son was sitting in his first grade class as the teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs. She came to the part of the story where the first pig was trying to gather building materials for his home.
She said “…And so the pig went up to the man with a wheel barrow full of straw and said ‘Pardon me sir, but might I have some of that straw to build my house with?'”
Then the teacher asked the class “And what do you think that man said?”
This friend’s little boy raised his hand and said “I know! I know! he said, ‘Holy smokes! A talking pig!'” The teacher was unable to teach for the next ten minutes.
We may not be able to predict what our kids are going to say, but there’s one thing for certain, it’ll usually be something unexpected. Hopefully they won’t repeat something we’ve said that maybe we shouldn’t have said and embarrass us. And the other thing we know for sure is our children are like sponges, they soak up everything we say and everything we do.
What we say to them and about them makes a huge difference in who they become.
Read Mark 4:26-34 and listen to what God might be saying to you today: And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. – Mark 4:26-34 (ESV)
What we say and what we do are like seeds planted in the hearts and minds and spirits of our children. Jesus makes it very clear that often times it’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference in our faith. The same can be said about parenting. Watch this.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Our children will not only imitate us, but in many ways, they will grow up to be like us simply because we’re their parents. Surveys show that parents still have more influence than peer pressure, even though the kids might rebel.
So, you might say that parenting is kind of like farming or gardening. You see, I learned something growing up on a farm in Iowa: We Harvest What We Plant. If we plant squash, we can’t expect to get corn. If we plant potatoes you can’t expect to get tomatoes. We Harvest What We Plant. The same is true in parenting. And in my opinion, the best way to make sure we reap the best harvest is to plant the best seed possible.
And that means we have to go back to elementary school for a little bit. Elementary school is where we learned all the basic for everything else we would learn. And one of the most important lessons for parenting in elementary comes from Show and Tell time. As parents we’re called to Show our children how to live as a Christian in the world today. We’re called to Show them how much we love them. And we’re called to tell them how much we love them.
How are you doing with that today?
PRAYER: Teach us to live before our children and grandchildren as You lived before mankind and may our lives and speech be worthy of emulation! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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