“But, why mommy?” … “Because I told you so”! Does this sound familiar to you? Although it is not a good term to use, either we heard this from our parents or we ourselves have used this in the past. We all have great expectations for our children, hoping they will grow up to be a responsible and a successful adult. This doesn’t come by just saying so it comes from example. We can tell our children “I told you so” until we are blue in the face, but it doesn’t make them actually do it. We must put forth the effort to explain and give reason to someone who is trying to learn. Child psychologist tells us that children learn from imitating. Babies learn how to smile and coo by watching you smile and talk. Upon the toddler years, they use more body language to get the point across in trying to communicate. The body language is a learned behavior usually used in a way to get attention. As a child continues to grow, their minds will grasp every word and every action, every behavior good or bad. Our children see us night and day so there is no hiding behind masks because evidentially they will see the real deal. When I taught Sunday School, children always were quick to react to situations with words or actions and it was easy to tell how they had learned that particular action or verbiage. If you really think about it, we should always want our children to be better and to do more than we ourselves have accomplished. We can force the direction, provide the guidance and teach right from wrong, persuading and encouraging them to go down the right path, however it is up to them to actually put into action what we have instilled into them. Maybe you haven’t realized it or not, we are all teachers. We teach our children to be a replica or a “minnie me”. Now, if you don’t like yourself or your actions at this moment in your life, think about what you are teaching your children. Jesus was a great teacher because He didn’t just tell us how to behave or show forth actions of love and compassion, but He also was our example. If you are a parent of small children, your ministry right now should be your children. Teach, teach, teach, show, show, show and stand back and watch them grow to be an example for their own children.
Matthew 28:19-20 Teach them to observe all my commandments.
Teaching people the commandments of Jesus is easy but teaching them to observe is impossible. To observe is to obey, fulfill, act, submit or abide by. This is what we do with our children. We can teach them, let others teach them and hope they make right decisions. Humans with their nature can choose to obey or not, regardless of what they may read, know or say. Jesus always focused on teaching and we should also. Do we learn by what we see or what we hear or what we do? Studies have shown that we learn at a much faster pace if we involve all three learning tools and not just auditory or by example. However, even if we are taught something it doesn’t always mean we will do it but more than likely, a child will go down the path with actions that have been repeated over and over regardless knowing the outcome could be an unhealthy one or bring unwanted consequences.
What should our ultimate goal be in teaching others? Through learning and obedience in what Jesus has commanded us to do, should bring God glory. Obedience is the fruit of His work and the display of His glory. We should want to glorify God by having fruit for His kingdom. The fruit comes through not only teaching but to observe. We must observe or obey the commandments or teaching of Jesus Christ if we expect our children to do the same. The next time you blurt out, “Because I told you so” think twice about your actions that are ingrained before your words.