In another article at this website, I pointed out that one of my top Christian parenting tips is the need to be good models for our children.
Our goal should be to be the best possible models for our children. The best summary of what makes a good model is that formulated by Christian education expert Lawrence Richards. Consider the following “ingredients” for a good model:
1. There needs to be frequent, long-term contact with the model(s).
2. There needs to be a warm, loving relationship with the model(s).
3. There needs to be exposure to the inner states [or feelings] of the model(s).
4. The model(s) need to be observed in a variety of life settings and situations.
5. The model(s) need to exhibit consistency and clarity in behaviors and values.
6. There should be a correspondence between the model’s behavior and his expressed beliefs.
7. There should be an explanation in words of the model’s lifestyle. That is, models need to tell as well as show the truths and principles that guide their actions.
These seven points carry tremendous relevance for the relationship of parents to their children. Try to make these points a part of your fabric. No parent is 100-percent successful as a model, but these seven points are the ideal to work toward.
We Should Model Our Failures Too
As parents, all of us blow it from time to time in our attempt to be good models for our children. What do we do when we botch it royally?
We need to model the proper actions to take after we’ve botched things up. Our children will learn from us even in our failures. Don’t be timid about being open with your children when you blow it. They will learn to handle their failures as they observe how you handle your failures.
Remember — as parents we are models not of perfection but of an ongoing process. In allowing our children to see our weaknesses, they will also be given opportunity to see Jesus’ strength working through our weaknesses (see John 15:5). As our children witness the transformation we are presently going through, it will help them see things in a proper light when they blow it.
 Lawrence O. Richards, A Theology of Christian Education (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), pp. 84-85.
— Dr. Ron Rhodes