Every parent knows this concept, yet it almost always catches us off guard when it proves true.
Kids repeat what their parents say.
My five-year-old son is notorious for this, repeating with flourish what we’ve explained to him (or he has overheard) to Sunday School teachers, friends and random people at Walmart.
Usually it’s not embarrassing material, and I often am amazed at the detailed accuracy of his retelling.
Tonight, I realized even further how important every conversation is that I have in his presence, especially my talks with God in prayer.
Jackson’s cousin has been very sick today, and so we have prayed for him several times this evening. As we were going through our bedtime routine, Jackson urged me to pray for his cousin, so I did before we tucked in my daughter for the night.
Then we went into Jackson’s room and he prayed with me. The first person on his heart as he began his personal conversation with God was his cousin. Jackson prayed that God’s arms would be wrapped around him and keep him safe and heal him. He prayed that God would give his mommy and daddy wisdom to know how to help him. After he was done praying, Jackson told me he prayed those things because that’s what I had prayed (almost verbatim). I affirmed him and told him it’s so important to ask God for what we need and to praise God for what He has already done.
Every word we say matters and shapes our children spiritually. I needed this reminder tonight. It’s hard to keep perspective when your two-year-old is stomping away in the opposite direction you told her to go and your other child who should know better is goading her on with each step. I too often yield to a raised voice and rash words.
My children’s first memories and understanding of God and His great love will be tremendously influenced by my words and actions.
I know I have much to pray about before drifting off to sleep tonight! And I am thankful God knows my heart and my concern as I struggle to be the parent He has called me to be. After all, He is my Father, and He longs for me to repeat everything He says, living out His message of love and truth, especially to my children.