Whenever my actions veered from what I said should be done, they would say, “But Daddy, you saaaid …”.
In those moments, I would either need to
1. Explain why this situation was different, or
2. Agree with them and repent.
Usually, I would have to choose option 2.
Those were humbling moments. But I thank God for those times. They gave me the opportunity to show by my actions that I was not above my own rules.
And those moments taught me a few things about hypocrisy—and my family culture.
1. Make promises you can keep.
How many times have you hurriedly made a promise to your kids that you wish you hadn’t made? Eventually, you hear one of your kids say, “But you saaaid!”
I learned the hard way to invoke James 4:15. I started telling my kids “Lord willing, we will do xyz.” Or I would say, “We plan to do xyz.” Or, “It is our intention to do xyz.”
Language is important to your kids. And so is your integrity.
In the movie Hook, a grownup Peter Pan (Robin Williams) tells his son, “My word is my bond.” But he never followed through on what he promised. So what was his word worth? Nothing.
Let’s make sure our word means something to our kids.
2. Make your walk match your talk.
When my kids called me on my hypocritical talk, it made me realize I was responsible for my actions. And how my actions affected everyone else under my charge.
As leaders of our homes—or workplaces—we set the tone for acceptable behavior. We can talk a good game, but we need to back it up with action. Otherwise, we will create a compromised culture.
Your family is always watching you. To see if you are the real deal.
They want someone to follow. But they have to know that you’re legit. That you mean what you say.
So let’s be real. And authentic. And walk our talk.
3. Make holiness your goal.
The best way to teach our kids the right way to live is to model it for them. Let them see what a holy life looks like. It can’t be taught as well as it can be caught.
There are times that I’ve blown it, and I’ve repented to my kids. Not because I was required to. But because I couldn’t afford not to.
If I am to teach my children diligently (Deuteronomy 6:4-7), they have to see it in action in my life. Otherwise, they could just roll their eyes and say, “Whatever…”
We can’t expect our kids to pick up holiness from church or youth group. Unless it’s first modeled at home.
Let’s envision exactly what we want our kids to turn out like. And then be that example to our kids.
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