The Messages Parents Send
Today’s Scripture: “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die. And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done? And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.” 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?