I want my children to use gentle words.
I want them to pick up their things.
I want them to be grateful.
I want them to be kind and think of others before themselves.
I want them to use their gifts to serve others for God’s glory.
I want them to seek God in prayer and through His word.

But am I doing these things? Am I modeling gentle words? Do I always pick up everything I get out? Do I complain more than I verbalize thankfulness? Am I selfish with my time and gifts?

A shepherd who leads his sheep from the front

If there is a character trait or habit you want your children to exhibit, consider if you are modeling that trait. If we want our children to learn from us we need to “lead from the front”. We need to live in a manner worthy and they will follow.

“Not in what we say and teach, but in what we are and do, lies the power of training.  Not as we think as an ideal for which to train our children, but as we live do we train them.  It is not our wishes or our theory, but our will and our practice that really train.  It is by living the Christ-life that we prove that we love it, that we have it; and thus we influence the young mind to love it and to have it too.” Andrew Murray from “How to Raise Your Children For Christ”

 Even in the secular book, “Freaknomics”, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner discovered through their research that a child’s success in school was more dependent on who the parents were than what they did. 
In the book “Revolutionary Parenting” by George Barna, he surveyed adults who were spiritual champions (had faith of their own, living to serve God) and looked at what their parents had done while they were growing up. The children who grew up to be spiritual champions had parents who lived out their faith…praying when making decisions, seeking God through His word, serving others. Having family devotions and going to church were important but they did not draw children to have meaningful relationships with their Lord. 
 photo credit: Anthony Blake
The alternative to leading from the front is staying behind our children telling them what to do and how to do it…until our voices become monotone murmurs in their minds.  nagging the same requests. asking over and over. using more words than actions.

If I want my children to go upstairs to get ready for bed, I need to head up the stairs first.
If I want my children to sit at the table for dinner, I need to sit down at the table.
If I want my children to display kindness, I need to be kind to others.
If I want my children to have relationships with God, I need to make time to meet with Him myself.
If I want my children to serve, I need to serve in all circumstances

What do you want for your children? Who do you want them to become?

Be the “who” you want them to be! Lead from the front!

linking up today on http://somegirlswebsite.com/ for “Thought-Provoking Thursday”. Check out some other thought provoking posts.