"Be the change you want to see"
I do not have kids so I won't pretend to know the struggle of having them (as well as the perks). I will say that I got a little sneak preview in working with kiddos on the spectrum for almost four years, so I'm not completely aloof on the topic. That being said, being with kiddos a few hours a day each kiddo pales in comparison to being a parent 24/7. Because of this, I have grown to really appreciate parenting… I believe that there is no job more difficult than it.
In my opinion, Joyce Meyer's quote is not limited to a parent-child scenario, but it reigns true wherever there are people. For example, sometimes we don't follow through with the boundaries we've set and end up giving empty threats. Our words say "you can't do that", but our actions tell them "I don't like that but I won't do anything in response" and so, needless to say, the actions that we aren't fond of often keep occurring. Not that we can control what others do, but we can definitely control our response to it (i.e. removal of something, getting space, etc.). We're not taken seriously because we are saying and doing different things. If we verbalize one thing, but act opposite to it, people will likely trust what they see rather than what they hear because it's much easier to talk than to act.
I believe that it all comes down to what we've likely heard plenty of times before: "be the change you want to see". If we expect something from others, let's first working on living in that. This doesn't mean perfection, this means putting in all we got and then asking for God's grace. Sometimes our life is all the instruction that people need (kids need much more!). They like what they see, they want what they see in us and so naturally, they get curious. When we say and do different things, it's straight-up confusing. When we expect something of others but we consistently do the complete opposite and make excuses for ourselves, we lose credibility and, deep down, we also probably don't feel good with the discrepancy.
We become less trustworthy and leave others with conflicting messages of what is expected. When it comes to those who are in their teens or younger, they get mixed messages that may leave them confused about what is wrong and what is right. Let's learn to live a life of transparency, authenticity, and consistency to the best of our ability, blended with God's never-ending grace. The fruits of our genuine efforts to live in virtue and reliance on His greatness create a joy that is visible to others. And if we fall short, let's own our mistake and make a concrete game plan to do better.
Sending love from afar,