When you least suspect it, kids are listening. I remember a trip I took to a General Motors factory as a young person. The guide told me why I should never consider a Ford vehicle: the auto company’s name means Found On Road Dead. I believed him. Years later, I remembered the man’s words, and I have never purchased a Ford to this day. Was I being a little too naïve at the time? Maybe. Nevertheless, my experience illustrates the fact kids are very impressionable.

We might not think our kids are listening or paying us any attention, but they really are. Their ears can hear (much better than we might think). Their eyes can see (more often than we are aware) and their minds are learning from us (much faster than we can keep up). They know when our words align with our actions — just as they know when there is inconsistency. They can detect weakness as they can perceive strength. We should never take lightly opportunities to teach them the important life lessons found in God’s Word: how to submit to authority, how to give to the Lord, how to treat others, how to choose their friends, how to maintain their purity, how to build a relationship with God, and what to look for in a marriage partner. At the same time, let us be careful to consistently practice as we teach.

Are you finding it difficult to train your children? You are probably doing more training than you realize. Every word which leaves your mouth — be it in enthusiasm or in anger, encouragement or criticism — along with every reaction you display to your surroundings — faith or fear, confidence or cowardice, gratitude or complaining, patient forbearance or revenge, unconditional love or selfish lust — is leaving an indelible impression on them. As a parent, you have the privilege and responsibility of influencing who your children will become; so watch your actions and reactions, for they are falling upon wet cement. You only have one chance to make a good impression.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.