Caught Not Taught
The past few weeks our church has been doing a series called “Caught Not Taught.” The emphasis has been on living your life as a model of the Christian faith. It has stressed how important it is to LIVE your faith out, rather than to just PREACH your faith. This seems like such an easy and obvious concept, right? And I was amazed at how when I started applying this “caught not taught” theory to other areas of my life, how much of an “AHA!” moment I had. This is much, much more than just an idea that needs to be applied to Christianity. It’s an entire parenting approach as well.
Think about it. How much in your life did you learn from reading in a book, and how much did you learn from watching someone and/or doing it yourself? I am a kinesthetic learner- I learn best when I do something. It will not stick as well if I just hear it, or see it, or read about it.
And think about where you learned your morals, your values, who you are inside, and what matters the most to you. You learned from those around you, those that are close to you. You saw how they lived and you either took from that and thought “That is awesome, I want to be like that” or you looked at them and saw heartache, depression, or anger from their choices and knew how to avoid those places as well.
As far as parenting, you are your child’s major role model. Never think you are their only role model- but you are certainly the most important! Want to raise kind children? Be kind. Want to raise respectful children? Be respectful! And this goes for spouses too! What you model for your children, will greatly influence the decisions they make. Not on good terms with your own parents? Forgive them. Offer them this sign of peace and love and think about what your children will get from that. What an amazing gift you could give to your child. How can you teach a child to love when you cannot love yourself? So kiss your kids, hug them, appreciate them, spend time with them, truly listen to them, and SHOW them how to love. And let them experience how good it feels to be loved.
It will be hard for anyone, let alone your own child, to take you seriously when you are not following your own advice. If anything drives me crazy in this world, it’s hypocrites. Which is why “preaching” can be useless, and non-verbal situations are when they will learn the most about you.
My favorite sermon touched on forgiveness. This was the part I held onto the most dearly and want to never forget. Ask your child for forgiveness when you need to. If you get angry, it’s okay to say “I am sorry I was so angry. Will you forgive me?” Seriously, how much more humbling can that be? And how incredibly important and eye-opening it will be for your child. Anger is natural, and all kids will see it, but what happens after the anger dissipates is what’s most important. I’ve always heard the saying “It’s not how you fight, it’s how you end the fight that matters.” Every word you say will have a lasting impact on your child- so choose them carefully. And if you do mess up (and you will), it’s important to admit that to them.
Everyone has heard the saying “respect is earned”. The quality of your character as a parent and in your every day life will be noticed by your child. They are always watching. You are not here to be your child’s friend. Your child will have plenty of friends throughout their life- you are their parent. And the best way to help them learn to love is to let them catch you doing it.
Your child is, of course, still a thinking, free-willed human being, who will make his/her own choices in life. They may go a different route than you hoped and they will mess up. But by modeling what’s most important in life as often as possible, you are setting them to be the most successful, quality person that they can be.
So, yes, this entire blog is 100% inspired by my church’s series. Here is a link if you are interested in getting more info: http://www.sheridanlutheran.org/new/weekly_services