I’ll always remember the time I gave my oldest child a lecture about his slipshod work. Barely a few hours later, I heard him saying exactly the same thing to his younger brother! It made me laugh at the time, but it also drove home this lesson for me: the immense influence I have over my children is a grave matter indeed. 

Sometimes I stop and think: “Is that how I talk to them?” How not nice!

Like it or not, our children imitate us. They copy what we say and do by virtue of the fact that they spend most of their waking hours with us, at least in their growing-up years. This then begs the question: What are they imitating about us? What kind of examples are we to them?

Can we confidently say to our children as Paul said to the early Christians, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ”? (1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV)


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Young or old, children imitate the people around them. They pick up behaviour and speech patterns from those they spend the most time with. If we are our children’s main caregiver, then our children will imitate us—both the good stuff and the bad stuff. And if someone else is helping to care for them, then they will imitate them.

And so, we need to ask ourselves two questions:

1. Are We Good Imitators of Christ?

If we want to be good imitators of Christ, we need to show evidence of God’s glory and presence in our lives in our daily circumstances, and not only on “special” occasions. In his devotional My Utmost For His HighestOswald Chambers reminds us that it is in our daily humdrum of our lives that the depth—or shallowness—of our faith is demonstrated.

And so I ask myself: Do people know that I am a Christian without me telling them? Does my behaviour, speech, dressing, and lifestyle show it? 

Friends and extended family may not see the “real” us, but the little ones in our homes, who see us all the time in all sorts of circumstances will.

If we say we trust God but worry incessantly about the circumstances we are in, then even if our children don’t comprehend everything due to their age, they can sense that we are not fully trusting God. This is when what we say and what we do are at odds with each other.

Friends and extended family may not see the “real” us, but the little ones in our homes, who see us all the time in all sorts of circumstances will.

If you have both big and little ones at home, you’ll see the degree of your influence over them, especially in the area of speech. Listen to how your older ones speak to the younger ones and you can “hear” yourself, just as I did. 

How we treat the younger kids has a great impact on the older ones, who will model our behaviour. Are we curt and irritated when a baby or toddler interrupts our work and demands our attention? Do we see them as little annoyances? Or, are we gentle and caring, seeing the baby as a blessing to the family? 

Not only will our responses colour how our older children treat their younger siblings, but they may also carry this attitude with them when they become parents themselves. Behaviours and speech patterns are caught, not taught.

2. Who Are Our Children Spending Most of Their Time With?

Who are we leaving our children to most of the time? The helper? Grandparents? The TV, phone, or tablet? 

Because of packed schedules, some parents have to leave their children behind with someone else while they attend to their commitments and activities. Or perhaps it is the children themselves who have packed schedules and enrichment classes. 

But we need to ask ourselves: Who are these people we are putting our children under? Do they have lifestyles and morals that are openly against what the Bible teaches? Do we want our children to be imitating them?

We need to keep in mind who our children are spending most of their time with, and whether these people are a godly influence.

We may try explain to our children that they are to love the sinner and hate the sin, but most young children are not likely to be able to grasp this concept. And older children may not be able to see beyond a “fun” and “exciting” teacher.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t go out at all, or that we shouldn’t send our children for enrichment classes, but we need to keep in mind who our children are spending most of their time with, and whether these people are a godly influence.

As 1 Corinthians 15:33 reminds us: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Our children will be influenced by the people they spend most of their time with. If we are the ones they spend of their lives with, are our lives worth imitating? If they are spending more time with others, do we want them to be imitating their values and lifestyle?

Though we may fall short at times, thankfully we are not without help. God is able to help us stand tall and say with Paul to our children: 

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
(1 Corinthians 11:1)


This article was originally published in www.buildingupmoms.com. Adapted with permission.


Serene is the wife of Henson, founder of Archippus Awakening (archippusawakening.org). She is a stay-at-home-homeschooling mother of seven children here on earth, and four who are happily in the presence of the Lord. She also has a blog at www.buildingupmoms.com, where she shares practical how-tos in running a house, homeschooling, and raising her children, and encourages Christian mothers to see motherhood as a ministry to the Lord. The family worships at Full Gospel Assembly.
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