Parenting By Grace: How To Control What Your Kids Catch

It’s easy to think about parenting primarily in terms of what we need to do. And what we do is important—we’re called to do much as parents. We’ll get to that in my next blog.

Much of what our kids learn about God will not be taught by us, it will be caught from us. (tweet that)

Who you are with your kids is as important as what you do with your kids. If we as parents are consistently resonating with the Gospel of grace, our kids will catch the grace of God from us.

Here are three things our kids will catch from us if we’re living in grace:

1. They’ll catch us Repenting. I can’t think of a single thing that will show your kids the Gospel more than your heartfelt repentance in front of them. If you sin against your spouse in front of them and you repent in front of them, it shows them that the Gospel of grace really makes a practical difference in the way you live your life.

Or, if you sin against your kids, don’t just repent to God. Repent to them. After you run to God’s throne room to receive his grace and mercy, run to your kids and ask them to forgive you for hurting them too. Don’t do it as a teaching tool either, do it because you’re truly grieved over your sin.

2. They’ll catch us Praying. Paul Miller in his book ‘A Praying Life’ gives a simple but phenomenal way to communicate grace and faith to your child.

As our kids come to us with all kinds of concerns as parents we often feel like we need to be the ones who ‘make it all better’ for them. But what are we teaching them when we try to solve all their problems? We’re teaching them to put their hope in us, in our ability to figure this situation out.

Instead of always trying to contrive a fix for the the situation ourselves, what we need to do when our kids come to us is say ‘That’s really tough. Let’s pray about it together.’ And then lead them to trust God through prayer. By doing this we teach our kids what it means to practically trust God with their real life.

By doing this you can also reject a fear based parenting model where the world is big, God is small. You set your child up for a life where trusting God in the unknown is the normal Christian life.

3. They’ll catch us Worshipping. Worship isn’t just on Sundays, but though personal worship needs to be happening in our lives, true worship does need to be happening on Sundays as well. If your kids see you singing and listening and engaging with God regularly at gatherings, it gives them a weekly reminder that God and his Gospel are the most important realities in your life.

On the contrary if they see you bored at church checking your emails, mumbling through songs, or criticizing the sermon after the service (having ‘Roast Pastor’ for lunch) they’ll glean something else from you.

Our kids, for better or worse, will catch things from us. And, if we are living in the Gospel, they’ll catch the grace of God as we repent, pray and worship in front of them.