How to set an example for your children

Written by Bob Goff
Published on August 09, 2021

Set an example for your children in practicing these 8 things. This is a powerful idea and word picture for how we live our lives. 

You can think about this when you’re thinking about how we interact with our kids, how we interact with people, and then the difficult circumstances—and it’s Philippians 4:8. 

So think of four—here hold up four fingers, hold them up. OK, now take your thumb and touch the first one.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure.

OK, second one, this is the eight…

Whatever is admirable, whatever is lovely, whatever is excellent, whatever is praiseworthy, think on those things. 

So what I’ll do is when you’re at the soccer field, and there’s like this parent that’s losing their mind and yelling at their kid and your kid—I just want you to go whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever it is—just refocus—whatever is true, whatever is noble. 

So when you’re tempted to just say, “Oh, they were so wrong, and it’s so unfair,” I just go like, whatever is true, whatever. So if we can harness some of the thoughts we think, it will help us refocus and reshape what we’re doing.

Everything isn’t a teachable moment, but you can set an example for your children. So it isn’t about giving new information. Your kids don’t need more information. They need a better example—somebody that just goes like this, why did you always do that mom, dad? Because it was Philippians 4:8. And so that is for me so many times I just do it this way. 

It’s such a great reminder. I’m sitting in traffic and I’m like, ah, whatever is true, whatever is noble. None of those are like a shell I’ve found for this emotion right now. And then I’m just not going to give it a lot of airtime.

Looking for other resources on setting an example for your children?

Teaching littles: Family devotions with many activities

Five biblical truths to anchor your children’s identity in Christ

To see more from Bob Goff, check out his website and his Dream Big Framework.

Listen to Bob Goff on the Pardon the Mess Podcast as a part of the Christian Parenting Podcast Network!

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Bob Goff

Bob Goff is the author of the New York Times bestselling Love Does and Everybody, Always and his latest book, Dream Big, released June 23, 2020. He is the Honorary Consul to the Republic of Uganda, an attorney, and the founder of Love Does—a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq, and Somalia. He’s a lover of balloons, cake pops, and helping people pursue their big dreams. Bob’s greatest ambitions in life are to love others, do stuff, and, most importantly, to hold hands with his wife, Sweet Maria Goff, and spend time with their amazing kids. For more, check out and

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