Consistency, lack of anger, food (especially for young boys!), and clearly stated expectations are some of the common keys to successfully navigating the years of parenting for almost any age. Even the world occasionally figures out that the principles for parenting that God has given us in His Word are indeed the difference between good and bad parenting.
But there is another key to successful parenting that has stood the test of time, yet is rarely mentioned in parenting books. Not surprisingly, the Scriptures have said it all along, but it is nestled among many varied topics in the middle of the Bible, and so few parents have ever set eye upon it.
The righteous who walks in his integrity—Proverbs 20:7 (ESV)
blessed are his children after him!
In typical proverbial wisdom, this verse affirms the common sense, easily observable, yet rich in insight key to successful parenting—be godly yourself.
It is true that children learn through formative instruction and through corrective discipline. But children learn integrity best by subtle observation. “I never saw my father get angry” or “My mother always had something good to say about others” or “My parents always reconciled after a fight” are the kind of testimonies given by the now-adult children of righteous parents who themselves lived with a predictable integrity.
Simply put, integrity is the consistent living-out of strong internal convictions. Parents with a strong personal commitment to God, His Word, and His Church will always impact their children with the same convictions. As the children grow older and become adults themselves, they might live out those convictions in different ways due to their own marriages and individual circumstances, but the convictions will be the same.
It is true, that the most lasting impact in children’s lives, is the collective day-to-day lives of their parents. Or to put it another way, parents who are predictably committed to righteousness are already a great blessing to their children.