Some parents ask, “What’s the best way to teach life lessons to a child?” The answer is often for moms and dads to model proper behavior in everyday situations.

Author Wess Stafford tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy on a fishing trip. Arriving the evening before bass season officially opened, the boy practiced casting a line into the water. He caught a few small fish, but sometime later, he felt a strong tug on his pole. On his line was the largest bass the boy had ever seen. His father congratulated him, then looked at his watch. It was ten o’clock. The season didn’t open for another two hours.

The father broke the news to the boy: he’d have to put the fish back. The boy protested. It was late; it was dark, and no one was around. Who would know? His dad was understanding but firm: the fish had to go back.

Does that seem extreme to you? Well, that was over thirty years ago, and the boy is now a successful architect. And though he’s never caught a fish that big again, it’s been brought to mind over and over throughout his life – every time he faces a decision between right and wrong. And it all came about, not by endless lecturing from his father, but by observing his godly character in a real-life situation. It’s an important lesson for all parents: How we reflect God’s truth in our actions every day is often more important than what we say about God’s truth.


Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.