September 7/8

The Messages Parents Send

1 Samuel 20:30-34

When someone asks, "What do you do?" the reply frequently includes a job title. But anyone who is raising or interacting with children has a role far more important than ordinary career duties.

Parents are communicators. Yet unlike conference speakers, moms and dads don't get to preplan their entire message. Everything we do and say—especially that which happens "off the cuff"—teaches our kids. Think about your childhood days. What did your parents do that illustrated their priorities, beliefs, and passions?

Even without speaking, we send messages by our body language, interests, kindnesses, absence or presence, silence . . .  Add words to the mix, and we have a recipe for remarkable impact, whether positive or negative.

Inevitably, our children will be greatly affected by what we communicate and how they interpret it. Be conscious of the way each young one processes information—sometimes our intended message becomes skewed by their understanding. What an incredible responsibility we've been given. No wonder wise parents rely on God's help.

Only troubled parents—like the angry, jealous King Saul in today's passage—would ever set out to hurt their children. But in our busyness, or from past woundedness, we might just be sending damaging messages.

What are you communicating to your kids? Ask yourself: What do my actions point to as priorities in my life? Do my children sense a hunger in my heart for God's direction, counsel, and sustenance? Above all, would they know how to have a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ by watching my life?

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.