Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Are You Real?

I have just finished reading Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby, and would definitely recommend it! It is an easy read with lots of practical information.

As the mother of a "tween" boy, one section really hit me in particular over the weekend. The author present two critical questions for parents to answer in each stage of their child's development. For tweens, these were "do you really love me?" and "are you real?"

Are you real? Most of us would say, of course, what a silly question. We think that we are "past" getting caught up in the opinions of others that characterizes adolescence, but are we? Don't we worry about having the "perfect house" to entertain or be known as a great cook. We can get caught up, even within the church, with trying being something we are not to gain approval--or not being willing to share struggles, because we want to seem as if we have it all together.

The author states:
If you're not authentic, your children will rebel in disrespect toward you and, often, toward society. Children respect parents who are respectable. If you expect from yourself that which you expect from your children, you'll all pass this test. Be the person you want your child to become. We teach what we know, but we reproduce who we are."

The author warns that children learn more from what we do than what we say. While instruction is key in a child's growth, we mustn't forget much of that instruction comes without reading a single line and saying anything. Much of what the disciples learned from Christ was through what they saw Him do, not say.

Some ways we can demonstrate our faith authentically to our children, according to the author:
  • Be the same on the inside as you appear on the outside.
  • Don't say one thing and do another.
  • Be honest in your dealings with others.
  • Don't show any hypocrisy.

So I ask again, are you real? Your child can probably tell you! May we seek to live out our faith before our children, struggles and all.


momrn2 said...

What a thought provoking post! Thanks for the challenge!!

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

This is such a powerful statement..."If you're not authentic your children will rebel in disrespect toward you and, often, toward society."

"Be the person you want your child to become", I am writing this one down and placing it before me.

kmom3 said...

My hearts cry truly is to be real. To truly live what I say I believe. I have been thinking recently about what it is my children are "catching" from me. I read somewhere about how what they learn from us is more caught than taught. Just more reason for me to stay on my knees and in His presence. Thank you for this post. I definitely need to continue to examine my heart and my life in this area!
You are a blessing!

Katrina said...

Great post, Kelly. It's so easy to teach (aka, lecture!). It's another thing entirely to live authentically before my children in a way that inspires them to do their best. What a challenge this parenting thing is!

Mocha with Linda said...

So, so true. "Do as I say not as I do" doesn't work. That quote "we teach what we know but we reproduce who we are" is right on the money.

And scares me to death!

Leslie said...

AMEN! This is so true!! We cannot pass on what we do not possess. God has used my children in so many ways to move me along in the process of sanctification. I want to be authentic for the glory of God, yes, but also for the sake of my children's spiritual health as they grow.

Excellent post!!

Julie Stiles Mills said...

For me, being real means being vulnerable with my kids. It means saying I'm wrong when I'm wrong and asking for forgiveness when I need to. It means checking my pride at the end of the street - because the end of the street is farther away than checking my pride at the door. I'm reading Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel and it's also a great book. I wrote about it in my post "freedom to be different" Thanks for the book referral!

Xandra said...

That is one of the hardest challenges as a parent. We can can lecture and nag all day, but in the end, our children model what they see.

This is something that I struggle with, and it's always good to be reminded that it's not always what I say, but what I do!


Lisa writes... said...

Oh, how I long to be real and authentic, before my kids, before my husband, before my friends, before my God.

Great post.

Cyndi said...

Okay, I can't wait to get started on this book. What a thought-provoking post! I hope, hope, HOPE I'm real and authentic to my children. I had a friend tell me last week that I was "real" but I hope my kids feel that way. Food for thought...

Kelly said...

Ok, OUCH. I have a little work to do. I was just seeing this in the area of music. I require my kids to listen to music by Christian artists. I, however, sometimes listen to '80's stuff. Hypocrite? I think so. My 13 year old called me on it, too.

Wendy said...

I need to read this book. Thanks for sharing.

Susie said...

What a great post and one that I need to print out and tape to the bathroom mirror. I love that this blog challenges us to be the best for God, our spouses, our children and our friends. Thank you!