I think at some time we have all heard the old saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Other idioms and sayings suggesting the same thing are “Like father, like son”; “Chip off the old block”; and “In his father’s footsteps”. I have never given these quotes much thought until just recently. Basically this refers to the inherent personality of a parent, or even a grandparent, either good or bad, which appear to be inherited by a child. Basically the children will have a tendency to have at least some similarities to one or both parents. This takes our responsibilities as adults and as parents to a higher level than that of merely providing food, clothing and shelter. We are molding the next generation!
As a father of three I am finding myself looking at how my children are growing up; how they are developing and even more importantly, who are they becoming; what to they believe in and what do they stand for? It’s scary when you can begin to see yourself in you child, be it a good trait or one that needless to say you are not proud of. It’s become even more evident now that my first born child is about to turn 20. At times my wife and I believe we are looking in a mirror when we watch him. It’s as though we can watch our own childhoods unfold in front of our eyes. The degree of responsibility we truly possess can almost not be explained at the point they are first born and even if it could be, I am not too sure we would listen! I can honestly say I am forming the opinion that God gives us our children to help US grow up! I know as I am getting older and becoming more aware of “who” I am, I’m tweaking my parenting skills based on this awareness and hopefully having more of a positive impact on my two youngest children who are 10 and 7. I can honestly say I did my best with my oldest but it’s quite an awakening moment when you begin to question “Was your best good enough”?
It is evident in the world that this “fallen apple” can be displayed in many situations; The child that grows up with the same addiction as of one of his parents; A young adult from a broken home having difficulty staying in a healthy relationship himself; Someone struggling with bad financial habits after watching her parents struggle with making wise financial decisions; a young man not being around for his kids, working all the time, after never seeing his own dad. I could go on with this list for what would make up a novel but I believe you get my point. If our actions as parents are not carefully considered, in specific in the presence of our children, we may find ourselves living in a world of regret.
In the raising and teaching of our children, we must never forget one very important thing; our children are like sponges! They will repeat what they hear and they will do what they see! So they question you have to ask yourself is “are you conscious of the things you are saying around them”? Even more importantly, are you setting a positive and morally sound example to your children, and all kids for that matter, through your actions? I am not sure about you but I had to admit I had some major improvements to make!
Some of the things I had to ask myself, and you may want to do the same, are some questions such as this: Do my children see me pray and/or do I pray with them? Do the hear me use vulgar language? Do they see me talk down or degrade my spouse? Do they see me work hard for the things I have? Do they hear me complain about everything and everyone? Do they see me drink alcohol irresponsibly? Do I watch inappropriate television programs, especially in front of them? Do I cheat? Steal? Break the law? Do I take my children to church? Do I spend quality time with them? Do I simply talk with them and more importantly listen to them? Do they witness me disrespect their grandparents (our parents)? Do I hold grudges? Do I get angry and throw tantrums? Do I over-eat? Do I over spend? Am I involved in ministry? Do I do what I say I am going to do? Am I a person of my word?
Again, I could go on for days with a a countless number of questions we should be utilizing to improve ourselves as humans therefore becoming more of what our children need from us! I believe we can take a look in the world today and see a society hurting, struggling, becoming divided and losing its morality! We are turning away from God in many ways and our children are standing by watching; observing; learning! I believe if we are honest with ourselves, we have to take a long, hard stare into the mirror and realize that we are responsible; we are failing our kids and in turn failing our nation, the world and our God!
Let us recommit to our future and our kids; let us be concerned that when that “apple falls” (our children) and they go out into the world on their own, that they are people that we can be proud of and know with all confidence that they will accept the responsibility of this planet and all the people on it transforming the world into what God intended it to be!