I’ve heard it said (particularly when speaking about parenting) that your children will not learn as much from what you say as they will from how you live. Dr. Howard Taylor, the son of Hudson Taylor, expresses this in writing about his dad in his missionary journeys through China.
“It was not for Mr. Taylor in his changeful life, to make time for prayer and Bible study, but he knew that it was vital. Well do the writers remember traveling with him month after month in northern China, by cart and wheelbarrow, with the poorest of inns at night. Often with only one large room for coolies and travelers alike, they would screen off a corner for their father and another for themselves, with curtains of some sort; and then after sleep at last had brought a measure of quiet they would hear a match struck and seek the flicker of candlelight which told that Mr. Taylor, however weary, was pouring over the little Bible in two volumes always in hand. From two to four a.m. was the time he usually gave to prayer; the time when he could be most sure of being undisturbed to wait upon God. The flicker of candlelight has meant more to them than all they have read or heard on secret prayer; it meant reality, not preaching but practice” (Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, p. 234).
Now, I’m not saying that you have to be up at 2 a.m. to show an example to your children, but our children know who we are and what we believe by watching us. Our children will see the truth of what we speak by how we live. As we live out the gospel before our children and speak of the gospel with our children, they will understand the gospel. Oh, how glorious is the responsibility and privilege of parenting!
[written by Mike Seaver]