Family Life: Learning From Models


(This post was written by Chuck Carringer, Pastor of Family Ministries)


Related to parenting and marriage there are so many great sources of information including books, sermons, podcasts and conferences. Today we will focus on models and the opportunities we have to learn through observation and discussion.

Let’s describe models as those parents or couples that you observe or with whom you have limited, not ongoing, interactions. Recently when several families were at the home of Evan and Marta Crass I noticed a magnetic chart of the back of the door. Marta explained that they were teaching their daughter Kate, age 4, about responsibility by using this chart listing daily responsibilities. I loved the concept. Although my children are quite a bit older than Kate it was a great way to teach responsibility. I have found the most important ingredient to learning from models is being intentional and alert to learning opportunities. Sometimes through observation I have confirmed what “I don’t want to do”. For example, when I see and hear parents having a “showdown” with a child at Wal-Mart I am reminded that I really don’t want to do that. My solution, if one of my children had momentarily lost their mind was simply to stop shopping (that is why you see carts sitting at random places in stores) and take my child home. Back at home we can have the conversation and consequences needed for this behavior.

One of the keys to maximizing models in our marriages and parenting is to follow up with the “model” whenever possible. In the above example I asked Marta to explain the process and the thought behind it in teaching responsibility. Today, Emily and I are observing and asking questions of parents who are in our same “season” of parenting or those ahead of us. We want insight on the specific challenges of parenting teenagers and the unique challenges our kids are facing.

Regarding marriage, take the opportunity to observe and follow up with other couples, especially older couples. We can learn so much from others, who are modeling behaviors and attitudes we admire and even those who model actions we don’t want to do ourselves.

Are you learning from what others model in their parenting and marriage?