Parents: It Really Is Monkey-See-Monkey-Do!

Matthew 5:19-20 says:  “Jesus gave them this answer:  ‘I tell you the truth, the son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’”

Of course, this is Jesus talking about His relationship to the Father.  It is also a truth about fathers and sons and fathers and daughters here on earth.  “A son can do nothing by himself.  He can only do what he sees his father doing, because whatever the father does, the son does also.”

Wow.  What a key for parents!  You can tell your kids what to do and unless you are doing it yourself they really cannot drum up the desire to do what they recognize as just “words”.  From a very young age, they identify what is real and what is hypocrisy.  Early on they see that the words and actions do not match and they either begin to resent the words or ignore them (or both).  After all, you are their parent.  You are ignoring your own words if you are speaking the words but not following through.   “A son can do nothing by himself.  He can only do what he sees his father doing because whatever the father does, the son does also.”  And yet you, as his Parent, might be trying to force him to do something you have been unwilling to do. 


Some good questions for us to ask are:  I am asking him to be careful with the feelings of others.  Am I careful with him physically and emotionally when I play with him or discipline him?  Am I tender with him?    I am asking him to be honest with me as well as to follow through on what he says he will do.  Do I talk with my Christian friends differently than I talk with people at work?  Do I hold two standards in any area of my life?  Do I make promises that I don’t keep?  I am asking him not to talk back or smart mouth.  Do I respect others (including my children) with my voice tones?

There is another verse in Ephesians 6:4 that says: “Fathers, do not irritate {and} provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training {and} discipline and the counsel {and} admonition of the Lord.” (Amplified)

The Forerunner Commentary says: “Just because he says ‘fathers,’ he does not exclude mothers. Paul simply addresses the party with the overall responsibility.”  I would add this; obviously either parent can be so driven or harsh or inconsistent in what they say and do that it can drive a child to exasperation.

It seems to me that rebellion is practically required to follow unless a child doesn’t care whether he is true to himself.  It is like fighting his way out of a paper bag.  He has no one’s honest example to follow, he wants to know how to be a person of integrity, but he is being forced to live out what his parent will not.  How frustrating.  How confusing.  How maddening! “Get me out of here!”


We must ask God to open our eyes and allow us to see ourselves as He sees us and that means our strengths as well as our weaknesses.  (We need encouragement, too!)  While we are at it, let’s ask Him to allow us to see our children in the same way.  I think those two prayers prayed consistently and with expectancy could turn some homes right side up!