Your life is shaping your child’s life

Posted by Rick Thomas at

I was having a conversation with my son the other day and mentioned to him that he was going to be my replacement. It was a sobering thought. My son will grow up one day and become some version of what I have modeled for him. The good and the bad of my life will bring shape to his future life.

It is analogous to a person who builds something to leave behind, after he is dead and gone. In that way Haydn, my son, is my replacement.

My words are ready-soldiers that march off my tongue to destroy or build.

Modeling clay

At some point in the future, when I am old and no longer able to run onto the field, he will take the ball and continue what I have begun. He will assume the role of a husband and maybe a father, and I will be relegated to the sidelines. It will be my time to sit back and observe what I have done to him and for him.

My children are like moldable pieces of clay that God has given me to teach, train, guide, and shape.

The primary way that I mold my children is through the life that I model before them. I am the most powerful picture that they observe–more than any other human picture in their lives. They watch closely. They examine, ponder, analyze, and then determines if my life is worthy of their emulation.

(Though they would not be able to articulate the things I’m saying here the way that I am saying them, this is without question what is going on in their minds.)

Gospel-shaped parenting

One of the most impactful areas where I have power over them is my opinion of them. Their greatest joys and greatest disappointments are connected to my opinion of them. I can lift them up with my words or I can devastate them. My words are ready-soldiers that march off my tongue to destroy or edify (build up).

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. – James 3:10 (ESV)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

In that way I am no different from my children: the opinion of my heavenly Father means everything to me. Mercifully, He loves me to death (Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16), and because of that my soul is free to be the best child that I can be in His world.

I want to model that same kind of affection for my children. I want them to hear and feel my words of encouragement. I have the power to build them up; I have the power to tear them down. All that power is harnessed in my tongue.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. – Proverbs 18:21 

Call to action

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1 (ESV)

Because of the Gospel we are beneficiaries of God’s boundless love. We are called to imitate Him. These three questions are to help you examine how you’re modeling the life that your heavenly Father is giving to you, to your son, which can also apply to a daughter.

  1. Through the Gospel, we understand that God is pleased with us. Is your child more aware of your pleasure in him/her or your displeasure in him/her?
  2. The Gospel speaks into our chaos, which begins a transformation process. How are you speaking into your child’s life in order to bring God-glorifying transformation to them?
  3. The Gospel is acted out by serving, rather than being served. What specific and practical ways are you serving your children?

Posted by Rick Thomas at  Please visit his website.  It is one of the best resources on the internet for counseling, parenting, and for living the Christian life.

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