As a parent, I take my role seriously as the primary disciple-maker of my children. That’s a privilege and a responsibility that requires great wisdom.

I was reminded of the significance of my influence in my children’s lives at my son’s soccer game. I cheered from the sidelines for my superstar until my throat hurt. By the end of the game I was completely exhausted.

As we were heading home, I was shocked when I heard him say, “Hey mom, all the parents were saying stuff but your voice was the loudest. Can you always cheer me on like that? It really helped.”

I honestly didn’t even know that he had heard anything I yelled among all the other cheers. He knows my voice and he was able to recognize my cheers among all the other voices.

He also heard my voice because he still values what his parents have to say more than the other influences in his life right now.

Encouragement means more to him coming from me than from anyone else. My criticisms also cut him deeper than anyone else’s.

In a world full of sideline noise and differing opinions, your voice is the loudest one your children can hear.

Our children certainly have many influences in their lives. At different moments on different days, it may seem that other influences are taking priority over ours. As parents, we must oversee what influences we are allowing into our children’s lives. In a world full of sideline noise and differing opinions, your voice is the loudest one your children can hear. What are you saying?

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Our children are listening even when we don’t think they are. That should be a constant reminder that our words should be gracious and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6), not harsh, cynical or discouraging.

Even more importantly, are you teaching your children to tune their hearts to God’s voice? As our children grow, they will need to know how to study the Scriptures, pray and discern God’s truth. His voice must be the one they hear the loudest. They need to know how to rely on God, not us.

Our children must learn how to distinguish the Lord’s voice over all the others. As soon as children can talk, they can pray. As soon as they can read, children can spend time daily reading God’s word. Do they see you modeling that for them?

These years raising our children are of utmost importance as we seek to disciple them and help them have a solid biblical foundation before they head out into the world.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lindsey Fescoe is a mom and children’s ministry leader at Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, N.C.