How To Have A Greater Influence With Your Kids

Kids InfluenceParenting in our world today can be scary as we see so many negative inputs in the lives of our children. From a skewed media, to negative peer pressure, our kids are under a constant barrage from negative influences.

How can a parent compete? How can a parent protect their kids? How can a parent have a greater influence than the media and peer pressure?

The Good News: Studies have shown that parents are still the greatest influence on a child’s life. Not only do parents have the greatest influence to protect their kids, they also have the greatest influence to shape and mold them. And, perhaps the greatest way a parent can influence their child is through the power of example. We see this principle at work in the life of Apostle Paul and the church in Philippi.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

When we read this passage, it’s important that we transport ourselves back in time and imagine this letter being read by one of the church leaders to the Christians in Philippi. As the Philippians heard these words, they would have fondly remembered times when Paul spoke powerfully to them and challenged them to live a life worthy of their calling. But, isn’t it interesting that Paul reminds them to consider not only what he taught, but also to consider what they would have seen in his life too? In 1 Timothy 4: 11-16 Paul passes on this principle to a young Timothy when he exhorts him to consider his life and example closely. Paul knew that words needed to be supported by an authentic faith and example…

So here is the challenging question: Does what we teach and instruct our kids line up with how we are living? If you are like me, that question makes me nervous… It makes me look in the mirror and realize that my example is not all that it could be at times. However, that was the case for Paul too. In Romans 7:24 he describes himself as a wretched sinner who was dependent on God to forgive and transform him. This is true for us parents too… And in the times when we miss the mark, perhaps one of the greatest things our kids could see is a parent who is humbly able to ask for forgiveness, and to extend forgiveness when others fall short… It’s not  about perfection, it’s about authentic example…

While there are many influences in our kids lives, we can be sure that what teach, instruct, and model to them will make a lasting impact. But perhaps most crucial element to our influence on them can be said in this way:

Our influence is greater when our example follows what we teach…

Or, to put it another way:

Our influence is greater when who we are and what we do align with what our kids hear us teach… 

Questions to Consider: What are some of the key areas our kids need to see us modeling for them? As you look ahead, what is it you hope your kids would be emulating and holding onto? What areas of your life need greater authenticity and transparency for your kids? What contradictory areas of your life can you ask God to give you change in?

Phil <><

photo credit: AMERICANVIRUS via photopin cc

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2 Responses to How To Have A Greater Influence With Your Kids

  1. Janette Haak January 21, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Phil this is a great blog that needs to get us thinking. We influence our children by what we do AND by what we don’t do. They will value what we value. It is never too late to repent if necessary and change your ways. If your a parent of young children reading Phil’s blog take it seriously.

  2. Phil Bell January 21, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Janette, thank you for your kind words. It’s a challenge to me as a parent of three kids to keep on living out the example I want them to see. There are many times when I make mistakes, but it is powerful for my kids to see me on an authentic journey of transformation, repentance, and victory. I can guarantee that my kids will need to travel a similar path some day, so it’s imperative that I provide the roadsigns through my example to them.

    Phil <

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