What Model Are You Setting?
by Drenda Keesee
My daughter Kirsten was working in the three-year-old class at children’s church with another teacher, and she had one child who was unmanageable. He would get angry and fall on the floor screaming. They had to call his parents back.
When the parents came to remove him from the class, he ran away from his parents and screamed, “No! No!” until his father offered him candy. In the lull, the other teacher expressed why they had to call them back, and the parents listened silently. When she finished, the dad said, “He’s tired.” He looked at his son who was gloating in his arms with a smile and a piece of candy. “Are you tired, honey?” The little boy shook his head. The dad listed more excuses. Meanwhile, the little boy had squirmed out of his arms and was throwing and destroying more things in the classroom.
Kirsten stood there in awe…
Here they had come to the parents with real concerns, and the parents didn’t respect their authority or even care what they said.
The mom, who hadn’t said a word, timidly spoke up. “Well, he is acting very disobedient and—”
Explosive yelling from her husband cut her off. He pointed a finger in his wife’s face, told her not to talk about her son that way, backed her into a corner, and continued to yell at her. The mother didn’t act as though it was an unusual occurrence.
That child didn’t respect his teacher’s authority because his dad didn’t respect authority. And that little boy had an anger issue and disrespect for women, because that is what he saw modeled by his father. He was only acting out what was modeled for him.
Children reflect their home life. They are an honest mirror of their parents in many ways. You can put on a good face at church, but your children expose the life you live at home. They’ll say their parents have been fighting, or their mom’s boyfriend isn’t very nice, or their dad has a special drink that makes him mean. Children are an honest reflection of you!
Gary is a deer hunter, and through hunting God taught him how the Kingdom operates and how faith can help us receive what we need. Gary doesn’t hunt deer; he “receives” them every season. When Tim was nine years old, he came to Gary two days before deer season and asked Gary to take him hunting. When Gary asked him why he thought he’d get a deer, Tim said, “Oh, that’s easy. I’ll do it like you do, Dad. I’ll do it by faith.”
Gary wasn’t sure about taking him out, so Tim bargained that if he could hit a milk jug from ten yards, Gary would take him out. Tim was so small that when he held up the gun, it was nearly bigger than he was! He shot all around the milk jug and missed it by yards. Gary told Tim he couldn’t go.
That night Tim ran up to Gary and tugged on his shirt. “I have an idea, Dad,” he said. “I want to try shooting the gun on my other shoulder. I think I can aim it that way.” This time, at ten yards, he hit it. Gary agreed to take him out that Monday morning, but Tim was only allowed to shoot a deer if it came within ten yards.
Sunday morning before church, Tim came out of his room with a dollar bill in his hand. He told Gary, “Dad, I have to sow my seed at church, and then I’m going to get my deer just like you do.” My heart melted. It was a proud moment to watch my little boy copy what he had seen his father do many times before, honoring God with his faith and fi nances. We agreed with him and sowed his seed in the off ering. Gary spent that night showing Tim pictures of deer and where to shoot them.
Gary and Tim went out hunting Monday morning. Gary was nervous. Here was our nine-year-old who had seen the Kingdom work in our lives, and we wanted him to have the same experience. Gary wanted Tim to get a deer more than he wanted one for himself, because Tim’s understanding of the laws of the Kingdom were being formed right there.
Gary helped Tim get in the tree stand. Gary stood on the platform and had Tim sit right between his legs. Gary told Tim he’d tap him with his foot if there was a shot Tim could take; otherwise he wasn’t supposed to shoot.
Forty-five minutes went by. Gary didn’t see anything, but suddenly there was the sound of a stick snapping. Gary looked down, and right below them was a seven-point buck standing at the base of their tree . . . ten yards from Tim!
Gary tapped Tim, who raised his gun as the deer began to walk out, but Tim didn’t shoot. Gary thought Tim was too nervous, but then he realized that Tim was struggling to get the safety off . The deer wandered another ten yards farther. Gary heard a click, the gun fired, and the deer dropped instantly. Tim and Gary came running into the house shouting and cheering.
Tim got his picture with his deer in the local sports magazine, and he was thrilled. Because that was Tim’s first deer, and he received it by faith, we paid to have the head mounted and hung it on his bedroom wall. Tim got a wood burning set that Christmas, and one day Gary noticed Tim making something. He asked Tim to see it. Tim was finishing the last letter on a plaque he was going to hang right under his deer head. It said: Faith Works Every Time.
For the rest of his life, Tim has that deer mount to remind him of how good God is. He has that remembrance of the law of the Kingdom of God, and he has experience that faith really works every time. He had evidence of God’s power instilled in him at a young age. Every child needs to have memories and reinforcements of the Kingdom of God. Without it, they’re adrift. Your word is no better than someone else’s. They need to see evidence!
What you model for your children, they will act out. What Gary modeled in front of Tim as a young boy he mirrored. If you smoke or drink alcohol in front of your children, your children will probably do the same, which is a dangerous game. Maybe you practice self-control with alcohol, but what if they develop an alcohol addiction? You have to be wise—Satan is looking for any place he can get a hold in the lives of your children. What example are you setting?
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.