By bro Lee Tian Seng
God wants parents to teach their children His way (Proverbs 22:6). Why is there a need to set a Christian example for them? Firstly, children learn quickly from observing the actions of adults, especially their parents who are their first teachers in life. Examples also reinforce the learning of Christian principles and values. It helps them to know how doctrine can be applied in their lives. Even Timothy, the evangelist, was also exhorted to be an example to the believers.
1 Timothy 4:12 - Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
How often should parents set a Christian example? The example that parents set must be authentic and consistent because children can see inconsistencies in their parents’ words and actions easily. Parents need to live the Christian life every day, not just on Sunday during worship. Just as teaching should be done daily, examples should be in the daily interactions parents have with their children. This could be in any setting, that is, when parents are shopping or on a trip out with their children.
Deuteronomy 6:7 - You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
How can parents be effective in teaching by example? Firstly, parents need to be committed to study and seek to live according to the Word of God. This will result in a transformed life (Romans 12:2). Secondly, there is a need to teach because examples by themselves do not teach. What I mean is that parents need to connect their actions with the teaching of our Lord. This way, children can understand and relate better. Ezra the prophet had sought and done the Law of the Lord and then taught it, so the people could see his example.
Ezra 7:10 - For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Children are like clay that parents can mould into a vessel for God’s use and it begins by teaching them when they are young and showing them Christian examples.