When you think about those virtues that you want your children to possess, what comes to mind?
- Is it gratitude? Do you constantly tell them to say thank you?
- Is it respect? Do you keep reiterating to them to say please, play nicely; share their toys?
- Is it patience? Do you tell your children that some things are worth the wait, and in the process teach them how to wait?
By your living example, you teach them all of this, and much more. By your own faith and trust in God, or lack of faith and trust in God, you teach your child what to believe. By your own hope in Christ’s promises, or lack of hope in Christ’s promises, you teach your child about hope/despair. By your demonstration of love for God and family, or lack of love for God and family, you show your child the meaning of love/hatred from your own perspective.
Young children are like sponges! Wherever virtue is lacking in our lives, rest assured that it will be lacking in their lives too. If we want our children to be truthful/honest, then we must be consistently truthful. If we want our children to be humble, then we must rid ourselves of pride. If we want our children to become kind and gentle souls, they must first experience our kindness and gentleness towards them. They must experience the value and worth of virtue if they are ever to embrace it. This fact is true for both children and adults.
So, where is virtue lacking in your life? What needs some work? For me, it is patience and humility. Virtue does not happen overnight. Yet, for us to be graced with virtue, we need to acknowledge before God that we need His help. That’s the first step to take. After that, persistent prayer for said virtue(s) is needed. Then let God do His thing. Over time, you will see positive change. Hopefully, that positive change will have a rippling effect on your family as they respond to the grace emanating from you. Then you will see the changes in your children – growing in virtue!