Lead Your Children by Example
The responsibility of parenthood lies not so much in the direct instruction of children, but more so in setting the right example.
A few weeks ago, Alison and I were invited to a backyard concert. It was a bit of a drive away and Alison had to work the next morning, but we went anyway. It was an intimate setting, about 40 people on a clear, beautiful, DC summer night. The concert featured Joe Zambon and Kevin Heider. It was incredible.
There were several reasons why I voted that we should go, despite the challenges. I know that Alison and I need to have relaxing date nights. I know that we need interaction with peers. I know that Benedict needs new experiences. Above all, I considered the evening to have two very good elements. First, there was the 3 hours in the car of conversations. Second, going to a Catholic concert would be an excellent way to enrich our faith.
I know that being Catholic doesn’t mean just 1 hour per week. I know that the daily struggle is real. I know that we need to be constantly growing, and finding new ways to live our faith.
I know all of this, and I want Benedict to know it, too.
Our children learn a large portion of their behaviors and world view based on our example. That means that Benedict is learning things from me right now, even though all he can say is “ba” and “da.” So even though he doesn’t understand the Mass, he knows we go there on a regular basis.
We have things that we value: faith, wellness, family. In order for our children to value those things, we have to show them that they’re important. I think that physical wellness is important, so Benedict and I go for walks every day. I think that a healthy prayer life is important, so we pray as a family. I think that family is important, so we spend quality time together.
I can’t fully explain what it means to be merciful, but I can be merciful to him.
I can’t fully explain what it means to be compassionate, but I can take him volunteering with me.
I can’t fully explain what it means to be faithful, but I can be excited about living out my faith.
No parent is perfect. But every parent is qualified to lead their children well.