Simply put, influence is something you do. Words are not enough. If communication and information truly changed us, we would be the most changed generation in the history of mankind. It is not enough for us to instruct our children and assume that they are going to “do it right. Something else must compel them.
So what is compelling youth today? Is it a strong work ethic or is it the culture. What compels youth today is what they see around them. The world around them screams of instant gratification. It is not the world they created. This culture was created by others before them. They are merely walking out what they have seen and been given.
So, when we as adults say we want to teach youth the value of work, how can they possibly find it compelling when they have been given everything they want, have decisions made for them, are taught little responsibility, and offered no clear example of what is expected? Simply saying I want to teach my child the value of work is not enough.
If a parent is a hard worker but gives everything to their child, what has the bigger influence? Do they learn by experience or by what they see? It is a combination of our words, our actions, and what they experience. This is what influences them.
When Jesus was being questioned regarding eternal life, his accuser asked Him about the law and how He interpreted it. Christ’s response is known as the Golden Rule as He answered by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. The answer to the question is compelling. The standard of behavior is clear, which leads to accountability. That accountability is our personal responsibility. The choice in how we act will influence others. That is how it works in life. It is how it takes shape in parenting.
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