The strength to love is a choice that must be made strong through practice, but, like food with exercise, it is fueled by the knowledge that our Heavenly Father loves us.
When you know you are loved by your Heavenly Father, all other fathers find their proper places in our hearts. When a father or leader lets us down, it doesn’t matter so much if he is not our biggest father. We can then expect less of them, as we should; we can more easily forgive them, as we ought; we can more readily love and help them, as they actually, also need.
Parents often look up to their own children. I don’t defend this behavior and, if you do that, then stop it and look up to Jesus.
But, more importantly, let children know about this!
When you’re helping children understand the normal things of life—teaching entry level problems, but talking in the tone and manner you would use addressing a 30 year old when you are 35, of course—include the lesson about role models…
For some reason, moms and dads are just really big and old children who still want to learn from mommy and daddy; sometimes they even try to learn from their children that way. So, when adults act stupidly, it’s time for you to honor them, but be the adult and encourage them. You are allowed to be more mature than the “older people”.
…and, that’s much easier if your biggest role model is Jesus and your true father is your Heavenly Father.
Parents who have Jesus as their older sibling role model and God as their Father won’t try to look to their children for encouragement. But, if you are the younger one and you find older people looking to you for encouragement, remember this: Those people are like drowning victims; 1. don’t let them hurt you (they can, they are ‘older’) and 2. it’s okay to be the mature adult in the room if you show respect and give encouragement.
When Jesus was born human, he genuinely entered our human situation. He literally is our brother. In his day, people looked up to him, young and old. You can too.
Proverbs 22:6, John 13:15, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17, 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Peter 2:21