Do you think it really makes any difference what you teach your kids? You’d better believe it does. A preacher and an atheist sat together in the first class section of an airplane. As they discussed their jobs and families, the atheist mentioned his children. He couldn’t get them to listen or show him any respect, and he didn’t know what to do about it.

The preacher answered, “My kids treat me like I’m a step closer to God; your kids treat you like you’re one step closer to the apes.”

When the atheist told his kids there wasn’t a God, he was teaching them that there’s no such thing as absolute truth. As they got older, if they didn’t feel like submitting or if they thought they knew a better way of doing something, they could do whatever they wanted. No wonder they wouldn’t listen.

We all need to be very careful about the way we raise our kids, because someday they will return the favor. If you take your family to church each Sunday, but then go home and talk bad about the pastor, your kids will pick up on that. On the other hand, if you have a real walk with God, and stress personal devotions, they will more than likely catch your excitement about spiritual things. We’re going to reap what we’ve sown—for better or for worse.

Parents, do you know what is the best gift you can give your kids this Christmas? Give them real parents. Let them see you’re not ashamed of God, and you’re not afraid to love them. Show them how much you love them by spending time with them—don’t just put presents with their names on them under the tree. Everyday you are teaching them what it means to live and love, and someday they will return the favor.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. — William A. Ward

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder