“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 (ESV)
Our actions are as important as our words. As fathers, our children are watching to see if our actions match our words. Are we credible?
Theodore and Nancy Faust Sizer authored the book The Students are Watching. The Sizers wrote about classrooms and schools, explaining that students learn from what their teachers do and say, and also from the things their teachers do not do or say. One significant finding from the book was “They watch us all the time. The students, that is. They listen to us sometimes. They learn from all that watching and listening.” Children are also learning at home. They are watching both parents. Daughters look to their father to understand what is a Godly man. Sons learn from their father how to treat women. Much of what our children learn at home is learned by watching.
The most important thing with children is what you do, not what you say. How effective is it for a father to tell his son not to use tobacco while the father is smoking a cigarette? As a young boy, I was always watching my father. I understood that his words were true because they were supported by his actions. I was blessed because he brought me up in accordance with Ephesians 6:4. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” My father not only made sure I attended church to hear the Word proclaimed, but he did his best to model authentic manhood for me by showing kindness to strangers, those in need, and loving my mother.
Our prisons are filled with young men that grew up without a father present in the house. Sadly, many times when the father was present, he was not engaged in raising the child. Proverbs 22:6 teaches us, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
It has been said that the best sermons are lived and not preached. This is not meant to diminish the importance of the spoken Word. The Word is powerful and is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It is meant to emphasize the importance of what we do because little eyes are watching to see if our actions correspond to our words.
Prayer: Thank you for the blessing of children. May be always be mindful of our joyful responsibility to properly raise them. Keep us mindful of our words and actions so that they will help us to raise up children that seek you first. Amen.
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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