Lesson 2 - Leading by Example
Children have a natural tendency to copy their heroes, especially their parents. There is much silent molding of character going on as children observe their parents. It has been said, “More is caught, than taught.” It is indeed sobering how much our children act like us, talk like us, work like us, and worship like us!
As fathers give direction to their children on how to act and speak, they watch father and notice if he does what he asks of them. One of the greatest conflicts a child can face in life is a parent who is double-minded one way at home and another way when other adults are watching. Children are greatly confused by hypocrisy in their parents.
Jesus pointed out the double-mindedness of the Pharisees:
All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them.
And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes.
And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues,
What was at the heart of the Pharisees problem of requiring one thing and doing another?
List some examples of how fathers might be inconsistent in their example?
The apostle Paul said:
Philippians 3:17 Be ye followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as you have our model.
Philippians 4:9 The things which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these do ye, and the God of peace shall be with you.
3. What were some things the Philippians could have seen in Paul’s life that they would have been inspired to follow?
Paul told Timothy:
1Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity.
Timothy was a young bishop and possibly felt very inadequate for his calling. Paul’s encouragement to him was to focus on doing what was right and leaving an example for others to follow instead of fearing what others were saying or thinking about him. Timothy had directly benefited from the example of his mother and grandmother.
2 Timothy 1:5 Calling to mind that faith which is in thee unfeigned, which also dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice, and I am certain that in thee also.
To Titus he said:
Titus 2:7-8 In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, The sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.
4. Enumerate areas where the above verses call us to be an example.
5. What does a faithful life example do for the message of a leader?
6. List some similarities between a church leader and a father.
7. How might being a faithful father prepare us for being a leader in other responsibilities?
Consider our perfect heavenly Father as an example for us:
• He is kind and compassionate.
• He is merciful and slow to anger.
• He is just and consistent.
• He is faithful –never lets us down.
• He understands us, and knows our weaknesses.
• He is available for us at any time.
• He arranges circumstances to teach us valuable lessons.
• He chastens us to make us more like Him.
Psalms 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
Luke 11:11-13 And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?
Being human we fall short of being what our heavenly Father is in his perfection. As we experience His Fatherhood on our behalf, we can learn many lessons how to be a good father to our children.
8. a. What attribute of God do you think is at the core of His faithful father-hood toward faltering humanity?
b. What can we learn from God’s attributes to help us be faithful fathers?
9. Why is it so difficult at times to extend to our children what we so much appreciate from God?
Thoughts to Ponder:
1. What should a father do when he fails in being a good example for his children to follow?
2. What are some ways we can evaluate our lives and understand what kind of example we are before we lead our children on a wrong path?
3. How can the example of other faithful fathers help us and our children as they grow up?