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Monkey See, Monkey Don’t: Modeling Godliness – Guest Post by Jeanie Jacobson

Most of us say we want to pass a Godly heritage to our children. But do our actions line up with our words? For years a preoccupation with being thin consumed me. Even after I asked Jesus into my life, my focus remained skewed. I loved the Lord, attended church, and even taught Sunday school. But because of the harmful precedent I set for my daughter–an obsession with weight instead of a focus on God, the old saying should have been “monkey see, monkey don’t”.

One day when she was in fourth grade I saw her frowning at herself in our full-length mirror. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She grabbed her upper legs and said, “My thighs are too fat.” I choked back bile watching our slender daughter model my obsessive behavior. Click To Tweet

My weight fixation began when I was a teenager. I’d devour fries and burgers one day, then starve myself the next. That harmful pattern continued even when I became a mom. I’d feed my family regular meals, but limit myself to dinner unless my husband brought home chocolate or pastries. Then I’d gorge myself, often eating an entire bag of candy or a whole pie in one evening. The following day I’d spend hours at the gym working it off.

Years passed before I prayed for freedom from my destructive eating patterns. When I did, the Lord freed me from the bondage of the eating disorder. And by His grace, our daughter, now in her 30’s, focuses on her health rather than a scale number.

Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” We’re toPs. 145:5 verse image share God’s greatness with the next generation.

When I was trapped by body image, my focus wasn’t on telling our daughter, “God is awesome.” I spent too much time gloating, “Mommy lost a pound!”

We want to pass a sacred heritage to our children. It’s vital that our words and actions showcase His goodness and our love for Him. To tell our children of His marvelous works. And to ensure they hear us praise His name.

We can take this nebulous concept of one generation praising Him to the next and turn it into an actionable plan.

Instill a heart of praise from infancy. Cradle babies while singing praise and worship songs. While your toddler parades toy animals into a box, talk about God’s grace towards Noah’s family. Invite older kids to act out Bible adventures highlighting God’s incredible power and love toward us. They could be Moses and the Israelites escaping the Egyptian army while you explain how the Lord rescued and cared for his people in the desert.

We desire our teens to develop a relationship with Jesus for themselves. Asking them insightful questions can help them understand His might. For example, Joshua 10:13 tells us, “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.” We could ask, “If you were on the battlefield with Joshua that day, how would you feel? What do you think would be happening around you? What would you see, smell, and hear?”

Quote from post with woman sitting on a rockRegardless of age, we can read the Bible with our children. Model how God works in our lives and theirs. Help them develop their prayer lives. Speak openly and often about the Lord and his goodness. Instead of monkeying around, let’s get busy teaching the next generation about the marvelous works of our Lord.

Do we spend more time telling our kids about our own accomplishments or about God's? Click To Tweet Do they know what a great Father He is? How can you showcase God’s awe-inspiring works to your children?



Get to Know Jeanie!

Jeanie Jacobson's headshotJeanie Jacobson’s writing shares hope, humor, and Godly encouragement. In addition to her book, Fast Fixes for the Christian Pack-Rat, she’s currently published in many of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul releases, Focus on the Family,, Live, Standard, and various compilations.

Connect with Jeanie on her website, or at

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