But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. – Genesis 39:20b-23
It feels good when you receive a compliment about your child. There is a sense of satisfaction that what you are doing is making a difference in the world. It motivates you to keep going forward with the blessings and challenges of parenthood with renewed energy and purpose. And it moves you to extend thanks and praise to your child. They are good moments and we should ask ourselves if the way we live is helping those moments along.
Joseph found favor throughout his life because his heavenly Father had influence on him. God’s presence marked Joseph as a good and reliable man, fit for leadership and trust. It didn’t depend on whether those other men – the pharaoh, the cupbearer, the warden – knew God, but that God’s favor set Joseph apart from others. He stood out like a candle in a dark room, the light of God’s goodness and power shining through his words and deeds.
We have the same influence on our children, for good or ill. Our character and attitudes will filter through our children to the world whether we want them to or not. We can try the “do as I say, not as I do” method, but that path leads to bad ends. Each day we should ask ourselves, “Is who I am helping my child become the person God wants them to be?”
It is a hard lesson to learn, but often the easiest way to help your child grow is to grow yourself. If you see something broken in your child, look to fix it in yourself first. When you witness an attitude in your child that seems out of line, check your heart and mind for the slightest hint of the same attitude and work on changing it. God asks us to lead our children by going before them, not pushing them from behind.
Lord, help us to lead in our families. Help us to see the broken things in our lives and how they are affecting our children, and help us overcome them by the work of your Holy Spirit. May the person I am becoming lead my children closer to God and gain them favor in this world. Amen.