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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Painter

Illustrating to our Children

There is a great lack in our society of parents who serve as good examples to their children. We seem to raise our children by a motto that says, “Do as I say, not what I do.” This has been very damaging to the generation that follows such leadership in the home.

If I were to take the microphone from person to person in this auditorium and ask them what their vision for their children when they grow up, we would undoubtedly hear of passionate vision of grandeur and success. I do not believe that any parent desires that their children grow to fail in any area of their life. If we then as parents have visions of success for our children, then we need to give them an image of success in ourselves.

As we look at our opening verse this evening, we will find that it is truly packed in it’s application. We have here a father who is seeking to have the heart of his son. “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 23:26) The prudence of the father has stirred his desire to have his son’s heart, or to have his son’s trust if you will. This father in Proverbs has the prudence to look ahead and see that if he does not have his son’s heart there are wicked people who will come along in his son’s life and take it. “For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.” (Proverbs 23:27) Therefore the father understood that he needed to work to gain his son’s heart and have his trust.

Just as in any relationship trust cannot simply be given, it must be earned. Therefore, the parent who seeks to have their children’s hearts must earn their trust. How can this be done? The Scriptures give us the answer, “…and let thine eyes observe my ways.” The trust of the children is earned through the illustration of the parents.

The Illustration of Love

This is the most basic of illustrations a parent can give to their children. It is not enough to simply tell our children we love them, but we must demonstrate this love with action. With what action do we demonstrate this love? Parents demonstrate this love with their provision. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13)

As a aren’t your primary concern should be that your children have their necessities met. You may not be able to give them every desire they have or every toy that they want, but you should have a desire to provide for their essential needs. What are the essential tangible needs of our children?

  • A home to live in.

  • Nutritious food to eat

  • Proper clothes to wear

  • Shoes for their feet

  • A bed to sleep in

  • Tools for education.

  • Toys that stir the imagination.

  • Books to Read

  • Their Own Bible

I truly believe in this day that we live in with the economic situation and social aid programs there is absolutely no reason why parents should not be able to provide these for their children.

There are too many parents whose children lack the essentials that they need in life while the parents play with expensive toys. Children lack proper clothes or good shoes while parents pocket a $1000 smartphone. Children lack nutritious food to eat or a bed to sleep in while the parents have a $1500 dollar big screen TV to watch. Shame on such parental provision. It serves to illustrate to our children a lack of love and promotion of selfishness that they will take an implement when they are parents themselves.

The Illustration of Character

If we desire our children to have good character then we must illustrate to them good character. If we want them to have the good character to keep their clothes put away and off the floor then we as parents need to illustrate this in our own room. If we want our children to demonstrate good character by making their beds in the morning then we also need to make our beds in the morning as parents. If we want our children to demonstrate good character in doing their chores faithfully then we also need to be faithful to do our chores around the house. If we want our children to demonstrate good character by dressing neatly every day then we too must dress neatly every day. If we want our children to demonstrate good character in accomplishing their school work then we also need to be faithful to keep up with our household paperwork. Everything that we wish for our children to accomplish requires that we provide for them a diligent illustration. This will instill within them a drive to live on a high level of character that is inspired by their parents.

Illustration of Hard Work

Before we can expect our children to be hard workers we need to be hard workers. We would be wise to teach our children the Biblical principle, “…that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (II Thessalonians 3:10) However, before we can effectively teach this principle we need to be able to illustrate it. If all our children see is their parents wasting time on their phones, on TV, on social media, and they never witness our business how can we expect them to be anything but lazy, for this is all we have demonstrated to them.

Illustration of Morals

This is a big one for our children. If we want our children to grow up with morals than we need to be the ones who teach them what good morals are. Morals are not relative, but rather commanded in Scripture. If we would have our children follow good godly morals then we must, by all means, demonstrate these morals at home.

Illustration of Spirituality

Do we desire our children to grow to have a strong relationship with God? Then we must illustrate what a strong relationship with God is. We must illustrate walking with God in Bible reading and prayer time. Do your children ever see you read your Bible? What would stir them to read their Bible is they never see you do the same? We must illustrate faithfulness to visit God at His house with our children. This will help them grow spiritually.

Illustration of Ministry

If we desire for our children to have a love for serving God then we also must illustrate a love for serving God in His ministries. “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)” (I Corinthians 16:15) Illustration is such an important tool in teaching our children we must be sure to utilize it in our rearing and training of them for God’s use in life someday.

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