BE the example. Wow.
Scariest verse in all the Bible to me is Luke 6:40 - A student is not above his teacher, but a student, when fully trained, will be like his teacher.
Surely this applies to all we seek to influence, especially regarding parenting, and since I homeschool my kids, I am pretty sure it's to the 10th power of exponents.
Gulp. Yikes. Oh wow.
But to leave a lasting legacy, I must embrace that step #3 is to BE the example.
Those we seek to influence will be impacted by what we prioritize in our own lives. Not so much what we say but what we do. (We BEhave what we BElieve, remember?) What is important to me will send a strong message of value to those around me. And the more value I place on something, the better they will listen.
It is no secret that our family greatly values being Georgia Bulldogs. And, for us, that loyalty is mutually exclusive. Please take no offense if your allegiances are elsewhere - I am just trying to illustrate the point - but at our house, being FOR UGA means you are also AGAINST certain other institutions. And our kids take that very seriously. They have learned it from their parents.... I saw this demonstrated most vividly years ago when ATT and BellSouth merged. My husband had long drawn a paycheck from BellSouth, and at that time, ATT was a competitor. All sorts of legislation ensued, the merger happened and suddenly we were employed by ATT and BellSouth no longer existed. We were explaining this to our kids who were old enough to be concerned by news reports but probably not old enough to understand acquisitions, antitrust policy, and telecom legislation. Loyalty, however, they got just fine.
No sooner had Paul said the words "ATT and BellSouth merged" than 13 year old Mary burst into tears and said "Oh, no, Daddy! That's terrible!!!! That's like if Georgia Tech bought UGA!"
(We assured her it was not nearly that bad....)
But back to BE-ing the example...
Look at what God tells us-
In 2 Timothy 1:5, we see that Timothy was impacted for Christ by the lives of his mother and grandmother. (And in chapter 3,v. 15 of the same book, we learn that he knew the sacred writings from his childhood! All this while living with an unbelieving father! Acts 16:1)
Philippians 1:14 urges us to stand firm in the faith because of the courage our standing will impart to others.
2 Corinthians 1 reminds us that our sufferings, if handled rightly, will comfort and encourage our fellow laborers. And if we help those who are suffering, the blessings and benefits are widespread. (vs. 3-11)
BE the example. Of faithfulness. Of endurance. Of loving Jesus above all else.