Proverbs18:4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
Do as I say, not as I do. We have always done it this way. It's my way or the highway.
Here are a few of those sayings that can get someone cornered, especially when our children call us out on it. I remember my mother with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other telling me as a teenager not to take up smoking and drinking. Who would think this kind of advice would work on a teenagers mind? Plus, it was already too late.
Yet many people live their lives this exact way, all talk and no conviction. Thank God my mother now serves the Lord and we are able to laugh about this old scene from the past. The ridiculousness of it is funny, and yet, how many parents who are trying to lead their children into making the right choices are choosing destructive behavior themselves. Rom. 2:21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal?
Does this mean that we, as parents, can never do anything wrong? No, I am not saying that at all. What it means is that we will have to do our best at living our convictions so that our children can see what honesty in life actually looks like. It does not mean our children will choose the right thing but, it does mean they will always have an example of righteous character. It means there will be a standard to draw from when they come into a place of decision and hopefully make a mature one. Prov. 26:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
This is why it is so important to be open and honest with our children when they ask questions about our past. When my sons asked me about the drugs and lifestyle I lived before I met the Lord, I was totally upfront with them. When they asked me why I quit school at a young age, I told the truth. When they asked me about my shortcomings when I was growing up, I was upfront about my life before Christ.
One day my youngest son came home from high-school and he was telling me that the teacher was talking about social issues that were formed because of my generation; the baby boomers. The question came up in class asking if the students knew if their parents had ever taken drugs. Apparently, my son and his best friend were the only two whose parents had done drugs and drank to excess. All the other students had said that their parents had claimed they had never done drugs.
I asked my son if he thought the other parents had been honest with their children. His emphatic "No," and the logic within his statement said a lot. He said, "The percentages just don't add up because I look at my own friends and there are a lot who do not do drugs, but there are many others who do. Besides, one of the parents is for the marijuana political party." Very hard to scam young people. They already know most of your secrets, so the more open and honest you are with them the more they will trust your advice. They may not always take your advice, but they will listen when hard decisions have to be made in their lives. 1 Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Generational misbehavior can be stopped when we, as adults, stop the madness in our own lives. We want our children to be upright citizens; therefore, we must be and do what it takes to be an upright citizen as well. What we say out loud about our neighbours will be the same things our children will say about their neighbours when they have some of their own. Prov.18:4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
The love that we show our spouses will be mimicked by our children when they grow up and pair off in life. If adultery, theft and covenant breaking is what is lived in your home, then chances are this will continue into the next generation. Often the grandparents end up raising their own children's offspring. With loud protestations of "Why can't these young people make any right choices?" Meanwhile, the single grandparent with custody is still badmouthing the spouse they divorced and wondering why things are the way they are. As my Latin wife would say, "What an enchilada!" Matt.15:14b And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
This is not a new problem. Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister. Gen. 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. God took care of this problem by warning Abimelech in a dream. Then years later Abimelech goes through the same thing again with Isaac who also lied about Rebekah being his sister. Gen. 26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how said thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. Both men, Abraham and Isaac, had the same fear of death and lied using their wives to protect themselves. Is it any wonder Jacob had a self-preservation streak running through him.
Things we say within our family environments carry a lot of weight with the ones who watch and hear us daily. Years ago my wife was a preschool teacher and the things that the children said to each other clearly showed that there were no secrets in the family and values were being gleaned by what was said and done by the parents of the said children. What have you been saying lately? I hope one of the things is "God is good." Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.