As an educator, I’m always looking for new ways to teach my children. After a lesson today, I’m reminded how much teaching actually should be occurring at home rather than at school. During a writing lesson on idioms, one of my students gave the example, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” How true! And why is that so? Why do children tend to follow in their parent’s footsteps? Because they are always watching. Even when you don’t think they are, they are learning and emulating your behavior. I hate to say it, but I usually know what type of parents a child has after having that child in class for only a few weeks. It’s very easy to see if they are “active” or “absent” parents. And I suppose it’s the same with my daughter. I wonder what my daughter’s teacher thinks of me?
If I’m doing my job as a parent, her teacher will see a calm, confident young lady. One who cares about others and has a good heart. She’ll see a child who is willing to help, who empathizes with those who are hurting, and is fascinated by the little wonders in life. Ultimately, she’ll see a child who behaves a lot like Jesus. And where does my daughter learn that? Well, I guess that depends on me. If I model those behaviors, put God first, love my wife as Christ loved the church, and train my daughter the way the bible asks me to, she will begin to show what it is to follow Christ….because she is always watching.
Dueteronomy 6:5-9 commands us to, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Pretty straightforward. I’m to love God with every ounce of my being. My family should have no doubt where my loyalties lie. I should teach my daughter how to love God this way too. I should talk about Him every chance I get, and my home should be a haven of God’s love and our obedience towards Him. My daughter will hopefully follow in my footsteps. She will follow if my footsteps lead to anger, immorality, and indifference. Or she will follow my footsteps if they lead to patience, love, and compassion. Either way she will follow….because she’s always watching.