Have you ever thought about the influence you have upon your children? No, I mean REALLY thought about it! I mean to think about the short term and long term influence you are having in their lives.

The scripture speaks of raising our children in the way they should go. It also speaks of bringing them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. That really doesn't give us a lot of insight into how to raise kids though, does it?

Through the years I think that I have discovered that raising kids has a lot to do with example. They learn far more from what they see is important in your life through your actions than just what you tell them is important.

I received a great story this week that illustrates that point. Listen with your heart as you read it, as a preacher shares this following story.

"At the first church where I ministered, I also had the job of mixing feed to supplement my income. For a period of about two weeks, each day that I came home from work, my two boys, ages 2 and 3 would look at me, smile, and would say, "Boy, dad, you sure are dusty!" I would reply, "Yes, I sure am dusty." Then I would get cleaned up.I didn't think too much of this until I was washing my car and saw my oldest son doing something very strange. He was picking up the gravel and stones that were in our drive and rubbing them into his pants. I asked him, "What are you doing?" He replied, "I want to be dusty, like you dad!"

If we begin to understand the power of example we begin to get some understanding of what Paul encourages us to do in  Philippians 2:5-8 when he says:

Let your attitude to life be that of Christ Jesus himself. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his privileges as God's equal, but stripped himself of every advantage by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born a man. And, plainly seen as a human being, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, to the point of death, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal (Phillips translation)

Whatever our attitude is will be shown in our example.
I really like this translation simply because it uses the phrase, "Let your attitude to life be that of Christ." That's my point, I guess. What is our attitude toward life? Because whatever our attitude is will be shown in our example to others. So, stop and think about your influence! What is really important to you? Because there is a good chance that the same thing will be important to your children or to others who you may not even know.

May God give us the ability to be what he wants us to be ... for ourselves and for others who will follow our example.