the video camera is always on part 4

Last week in my continuing series, I talked about two key issues where our children are always recording: our priorities and what we allow into our minds. Today, I’ll be discussing how our kids are always watching the example we set in our marriages and how we treat our spouse. I’ll also be discussing how we react when others wrong us.

Marriage can be tough. It is purely by the grace of God that two completely different people with different pasts can come together, warts and all, and share a love that spans a lifetime.

While no marriage is perfect, we can do our best to be a half of a marriage that honors God and sets a good example for our children. It has been said that our daughters will emulate us as wives when they themselves marry and that they will choose husbands with similar character traits as their dads. The same is true for our sons, who look to their dads for an example of what a man should be in his role as a husband; and at moms for what type of wife they will seek.

So how can we show our children an example of a marriage worth mirroring?

Spend time together. Set aside the first 15 minutes when your spouse arrives home from work (or you, if you arrive after your spouse) to greet each other, talk about your day, and connect. Yes, there are a million other things that will be vying for your attention, but making your spouse a priority is critical.

Spend time in the Word as a couple. To do so in our busy world, we have to be intentional. Set aside time to pray together and seek to know the Lord better through reading the Bible.

Put your spouse before yourself. A fun article depicting a couple who celebrated their 85th wedding anniversary in 2020 and is likely the longest married couple in America, discusses the importance of spending time together participating in the favorite interests of the other spouse. Husband Ralph states in the article that “Dorothy loves ballroom dancing and I loved to shoot clay targets…I joined her with ballroom dancing and she joined me with trap shooting.”

Deal with conflict appropriately. Conflict, grudges, irritation, differing ideas, disagreements…and the list goes on. While we may have a lot in common with our spouse, we aren’t them and they aren’t us. When conflict arises – and it will – we need to deal with it appropriately. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”.

Be kind. Matthew 7:12 applies heartily to marriages. Treat your spouse as you would like to be treated.

Serve your spouse. There are a million little ways we can serve our spouse that make a huge impact.

Make building a strong marriage a priority.

Another area where our kids will imitate us is in how we react when someone wrongs us.

This is a tough one. No one can sail through life without painful relationships, broken friendships, and just plain crossing the paths of mean people. Hurts happen, and how we respond when someone has wronged us is another area where our children are watching us to see how we respond.

Do we respond in kind? Do we hide our pain? Do we get defensive and seek revenge? Do we ignore the offending party?

The Bible tells us in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”. There will be those times when we aren’t able to live at peace with someone and the best we can do is to distance ourselves from that person and continue to pray for them.

However, for those other times (which should be in the majority), our children are watching to see if we react with forgiveness, seeking reconciliation if possible, and remembering that we are called to imitate Christ in our actions (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Do we respond in humility? Ask for forgiveness when we are in the wrong?

None of these proper responses is possible without the help of the Holy Spirit. In our fallen natures, it’s much easier to take a different route of bitterness, unrighteous anger, and gossip.

Our children will imitate how we respond with someone who hurt us the next time someone hurts them.

Please join me next time for our final segment in this series where I’ll be discussing how our children mimic our healthy habits (or lack thereof) and how we respond during trials.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the video camera is always on part 1

the video camera is always on part 2

the video camera is always on part 3

the importance of new beginnings

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

4 ways to reconnect with your spouse

7 ways to inspire others

7 tips to help safeguard against an entitlement attitude in your kids

the video camera is always on part 1

Welcome to my new series about the importance of being good role models for our children. It’s not always easy, and we definitely won’t do it perfectly.

But we aren’t after perfection. Rather, we are after trying our best to raise our children for the Lord with His tender, gracious, and patient assistance. We are striving for grace, humility, and forgiveness. For kindness, understanding, and patience.

According to the Barna Group, “What we build into a child’s life prior to the age of 13 represents the moral and spiritual foundation that defines them as individuals and directs their choices for the remainder of their life. Garbage in, garbage out…”

Let those words sink in.

While we will still make a difference in our children’s life long after they are 13, those first formative years, according to the quote above, are the most critical in laying the groundwork.

When we were first married, I bought my husband a video camera for Christmas. Back then, video cameras were much bigger than they are today. In fact, this video camera was the size of the kind you see in movie studios. After we had children, we found ourselves being the only ones with an oversized camcorder at birthday parties and playdates. The video camera served us well until it died and we were forced to buy a newer more compact model.

These days, we simply record with our cell phones. Smaller, more efficient, and always at the ready.

It didn’t matter if our video camera was two feet long or hand-held size, or built into our cell phones: it recorded with the simple touch of a button. Our children are like video cameras – they record what goes on around them, whether they’re teens, toddlers, or somewhere in between.

Our kids are watching our habits.

My husband Lon is addicted to condiments. He loves ketchup, salsa, sour cream, salad dressing, and especially mayonnaise. It’s not uncommon for my condiment king to have a condiment as his main meal with a side of hamburger. Forget the dream home or the new shiny Dodge truck. Nope, large barrels with spigots continually full of a variety of condiments would be Lon’s dream come true.

One day our oldest daughter, Sunshine, sat down to eat dinner. I watched as she poured piles of ketchup, sour cream, and salsa on her taco. Because I like everything plain, such behavior is utterly gross to me.

Like father, like daughter. Sunshine had grown up with a condiment king father and now she had become the condiment princess. Our kids model our behavior whether we realize it or not. They model our behavior – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The healthy and the unhealthy habits. And just like a video camera, they record the world and the examples around them, including those set my their parents.

Our kids are watching our faith

At the Easter service at church, we sat behind a family with two kids. The mom and kids appeared excited to be at church and eager to partake in the service. The dad? Not so much. There could be a million reasons why the dad’s body language showed a lackluster interest in being in church that day, and I won’t try to interpret the reason because that’s not the purpose of this post. However, what is the purpose is that the son, the younger of the two children, at about 12 years old, continually watched the dad.

He looked to his dad at every turn. When we sang, when we prayed, when we listened to the sermon, and when we stood up and filed out of the sanctuary.

When we show the value of our faith in our lives, it sets a Godly example for our kids of what is important.

Our kids are watching how we react.

How did we react when someone was unkind to us? When a fellow driver cut us off in traffic? When a friend betrays us? When our boss or coworker treat us badly?

Again, we are not after perfection. But we are after setting a Godly example. Kids mimic what they see.

Our kids are watching our humility.

How do we react when we are the recipients of harsh words or something hateful? When we make a mistake? When we fail to curb our temper? Our children are watching our humility and our willingness (or lack thereof) to admit to a mistake. It’s especially critical that when we, as parents, make a mistake affecting our children that we apologize.

Our kids are watching our responses.

Last year was an interesting year to say the least. While most are happy that 2020 is in the rear-view mirror, many, including myself are facing some concern as to what 2021 may bring. While it is easy to fear and become anxious over the many frightening changes our current year is bringing, we as parents have to remember that in the midst of that anxiety and fears, our children are watching how we respond.

It is truly only by God’s grace that in the midst of troubling times, we can turn to and rest in Him. It is only by spending time in prayer and in His Word that we can turn from the troubling issues at hand and keep our eyes on Him.

Our children are watching how we respond to all the craziness of our current times. They are watching when we turn to God, when we pray, when we immerse ourselves in His Word, and when we cry out to Him.

Next week, I’ll expound on the above topics and provide resources to help us for all of those times when the red “recording” light is on and our children are watching.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the video camera is always on, part 2

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

28 verses for uncertain times

the importance of Christmas

you might be a writer if…10 ways to know

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

6 ways to encourage other moms