Monday, October 21, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Taught or Caught?

written by Pam
My mother.  A strong, God-fearing woman with tons of wisdom.  I love her with all my heart.  I am so proud to call her my mom.  This blog is dedicated to her because she is a woman of prayer, through and through.  I know so much of who I am today (and the many blessings God has given me) is because of her faithfulness in praying for me my entire life.  I pray you are blessed by her wise words & praying heart as I have been for the past 33 years.

I have heard the statement many times, “Children learn more from what they observe than what they are taught.”

Reflecting back over my life, especially those years as a child growing up in a home as the eldest of five children, I realize that many of the values I hold and truths I believe were not necessarily taught as much as they were caught.  I learned to serve others because my mother and father lived out service to family and friends year after year. 
The Lord blessed my parents with a home on sixty-seven acres of property in 1950.  My father was a very creative and innovative man, so he was always trying to improve and add to the property to make fun things for us to enjoy.  Over the years he dug two ponds, built a picnic shelter pavilion, put in outdoor bathrooms and a train building which housed a small train that traveled around one of the ponds. 
Every year we would work hard to get the property ready for picnics and family reunions.  I heard my mother say recently that friends would comment about how wonderful it was to have this place to enjoy, but they had no idea how much work was involved in getting it prepared for use.  Believe me, it was a lot of work, every week, all summer.  I know because we kids all had to help get it ready.  We mowed, cleaned, swept, prepared food and drinks. 
And because of our participation in helping to get the place ready, we also felt the same joy that our parents did as we watched others enjoy the day as they swam, ate, played volleyball, rode the train and talked with each other.  At the end of the day, we were exhausted, but we also had many wonderful memories which we cherish to this day.
I learned more about how to demonstrate God’s love to others and to serve them by watching my parents do it and actually being forced to help them serve. 
So what are our children catching from us? 
Hopefully, some good values like observing us reading our Bible, or on our knees praying?  Or perhaps, serving at a local shelter dispensing food to those in need?  What about watching us work hard at a task and finishing it, or speaking the truth in every situation, or displaying patience with an irritating neighbor?
Are you thinking: “but I have to say something to give instruction to my children”? 
Yes, there does need to be some talking and teaching.  The LORD does instruct us to talk with our children and teach them along the way. 
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 in NIV says, “Love the LORD your 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.”  
Notice, that God begins with the parents own personal love for the LORD and then moves to impressing God’s commandments upon our children, and then to talking and displaying them.  It starts with our own hearts. And perhaps, the “impressing” upon them is the living it out in demonstration day after day.
Let’s pray. 
Lord, help me to live out your living word as an example to my children and grandchildren.  I desire to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength and to walk by your Spirit each day, keeping in step with you.  Let my life be a visible demonstration of your love and grace and truth to all who may be looking.
Lord, teach my children to love you and to love others and to live out your principles in their lives.  Let them CATCH your Spirit and your righteous way of life, as they observe others living out service to you on a daily basis.  Give them the desire to practice what they see, and let them experience the joy of being obedient to you.  In Jesus name. AMEN.





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