"As parents, we guide by our unspoken example.
It is only when we're talking to them that our kids aren't listening."
- Attributed to Robert Brault
There are times in our lives when we as parents seem to be dishing out some form a sermonette to our children on some lost value or virtue that has seemed to have escaped them. My kids often remind me that I have given this or that one before ("Oh, yeah, dad. Isn't that sermonette number 234? Got it.") At some point, even my Reader's Digest version of my lectures don't appear to fly either.
Unless you are talking about allowance or how much you plan on letting them use the car (or you just want to hear your own voice rehashing the lecture for the 10,000th time), you will probably be talking on deaf ears. And rightly so in many cases.
While we tend to administer instruction from the pulpit looking down, we probably should be spending more time in the pews ourselves. Personally, I have found that that I can't expect my children to rise to any higher standard than to the one I reach myself. Can you expect your children to be honest if you try to sneak food and drink into a movie theater when clearly posted signs say it is prohibited? You can try to justify certain behaviors by saying the policy doesn't make sense or that the movie theater makes tons of money off refreshments (which they do), but so will your children. We honor policies out of respect. We might be able to outsmart children when they are little, but they quickly see the shallowness of our words.