Ninety-nine percent of the actions you perform that influence your children are unpremeditated actions. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of them every day. Your facial expressions; your posture; your tone of voice; your gestures; your responses to the dog and the weather and the slipping clutch and the dripping faucet and the late spouse and the TV news; and a hundred other spontaneous expressions of who you really are. Ninety-nine percent of the behavior that influences your child is unpremeditated.
Your children will most likely imitate what they see makes you the happiest, not what they hear you tell them to do, or even what they see you do but don't like to do. They will mostly imitate what they see you do that seems to make you happiest.
The implications of these two principles is that we parents should devote most of our energy to becoming a certain kind of person, not to trying to master parenting strategies. It will never work. You will never stop producing 99% of your child-influencing actions spontaneously. You would go insane if you tried to ponder several options before all the hundreds of minute actions that make up your day and your relationships. Your only hope—if you want to influence your children for God—is to be a certain kind of God-besotted person, so that when you react spontaneously what they see is God.
And if children imitate what really makes you the happiest, then the priority of parenting must be to find your deepest satisfaction in God, so that your joy in him spills over in what you say and do.
Parenting to the Glory of God
Two messages from John Piper.
Posted by Matt