It is very challenging as parents to know the "right" thing to do to shape our children to make the best decisions that put them on the path God has laid out for them.
The genetic makeup of an individual speaks volumes to us as to how we can best influence their choices. It requires the mind of God to accomplish such an important task.
Jeremiah 12:3 (NLT): "But as for me, Lord, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts."
I have witnessed the tears of many a parent who has raised children claiming Proverbs 22:6 (NLT): "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."
They ultimately find disappointment and heartache when their children fail to make good decisions and live defeated lives. It is a sad commentary when an elderly person sits alone day after day knowing they are at the end of their life and never enjoying the visits or calls of the children they loved and invested in.
How does this happen?
One priority for us as parents is to live the life in front of our children that we want them to live as an adult. What we do shapes them far greater than what we say.
If you want respect and care in old age, then make sure you witness that before your children to your parents.
We must be careful about mixed messages.
If we give children all of the latest and greatest and anything they ask for, then we raise children who feel entitled no matter what we say about working hard to earn a living.
If we tell our children not to drink alcohol or smoke, yet enable them by providing the funds to purchase the items, then we are sending mixed messages.
If we tell them to abstain from sexual relationships until marriage, yet we set them up to fail by giving them the opportunity to have sex, or better yet purchase birth control pills or condoms, then what we say is not measuring up to what we do.
Galatians 6:7 (NLT): "Don't be misled — you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant."