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Quotes to Ponder
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The Pattern of Our Lives

In her book, The Shaping of a Christian Family, Elisabeth Elliot shares a very important reason why her parents were so successful in "shaping" their Christian family ...

Our parents understood very clearly that the principles they taught their children would have meager effect if they were not strongly fortified by the pattern of their own lives. "To give children good instruction and a bad example," wrote Archbishop Tillotson, "is but beckoning to them with the head to show them the way to heaven while we take them by the hand and lead them in the way of hell" (J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents).

Let's face it, "Do as I say and not as I do" just does not cut it as a Christian parent. In Acts 1:1, Luke starts by saying that, "Jesus began both to do and teach." How hollow a teaching is when it is not followed up with action.

As parents we are "pattern setters". A habit in our children, good or bad, can often be traced back to us. As a matter of fact, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that parents can be the primary example for their children, instead of their fellow students in school.

There are so many good habits and interests that we can share with our children each day ... praying, having a quiet time, reading books, being patient, baking bread, controlling a temper, tending a garden, training a pet, being polite, studying the Bible, writing a thank you note, giving a hug. We can see throughout the Gospels that Jesus not only taught, he lived what he taught. Let's follow His pattern of living so that our children will follow Him as well!

June 2, 1998
1998 by Kathy Ridpath
Please ask for permission to reprint this article, ridpath@chfweb.com. Thank you!


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The Shaping of a Christian Family
by Elisabeth Elliot, Paperback
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Isaiah 54:13

Kathy Ridpath: ridpath@chfweb.com
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