Years ago there was a famous TV commercial called “Like Father, Like Son.” It showed a father and his young son spending a day together doing a variety of things such as painting the house, washing the car, going for a walk, and relaxing under a tree.
In each scene, the little boy carefully tried to mimic everything that his father did. When the father wiped his brow, the son also wiped his brow. When the father picked up a small stone on a path and tossed it into the woods, the son found a stone and threw it exactly as his father did. Each time they did this, the narrator would say, “Like father, like son.”
The final scene shows the two of them sitting under a tree where the father casually pulled out a cigarette and lit it up. He set the pack down next to the son, who picked up the pack and began to take out a cigarette for himself. Once again the narrator said, “Like father, like son.”
That anti-smoking commercial which aired for over fourteen years is a great reminder about the powerful influence that we as parents, and particularly fathers, have over our children.
It has been said that kids may be poor listeners, but they are great observers. They are able to observe our virtue and our sin. For good or bad, they tend to follow the paths that we have taken.
As parents, my wife Lynn and I always hoped that our children would live faith-filled, virtuous and godly lives. After nearly 23 years of parenting we have learned that there is no secret formula for raising kids. There’s no prescribed list of dos and don’ts that offer quick and tangible results for raising children. More than ever we can identify with John Wilmot who once said,
“Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories”.
I think that the best way to raise godly children is to be models of godly people to them. In Galatians 5:22-23 the apostle Paul writes,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
These are the outcomes of living a Godly life. When we demonstrate these fruits in our own lives, we give our children the best gift we could ever give them.
Kids need parents who will show them, not tell them, how to live. As a parent, I need to ask myself, “How well do I model the fruits of the Spirit to my children? Am I living with joy? Do I show patience to others? Do my kids see gentleness in me? Am I modeling self-control? Is God the center of my life?”
Like father, like son.