Leading by Example


I was recently trying to decide what to talk about for a devotional at the bridal shower. The bride works for one of my favorite grocery stores. Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to live near one of the 418 Trader Joe’s in the world. I decided to do a little research about this chain of stores.

For several years Trader Joe’s has ranked first or second as consumers’ favorite grocery store. (Who wouldn’t like shopping at a store where all workers all wear Hawaiian shirts?)

The cheerful, helpful workers that make Trader Joe’s so pleasant to shop at, are happy, in part, because they like working there.

One employee review states, “Everyone always asks why the employees are so happy at TJ’s; it’s because they treat their employees extremely well. Great pay, great benefits, and a great atmosphere to work in.”

Another describes the management at Trader Joe’s, “All the managers actually work with the crew members!!! They get on their hands and knees and restock the bottom shelves, they clean the toilets, scrub the floors… They work just as hard, sometimes harder than the crew members!!! Trader Joe’s has a ‘Lead by example’ policy that their managers listen to.”

Here’s something we can take and apply to our parenting! Here’s a few questions to think about:

  • Do our children like being in our homes?
  • Are they cheerful about working?
  • Are we leading by example? Do our children see us down on our knees, willingly doing the same work that we ask them to do?
  • Are we humble enough to work alongside them, or do we just tell them what to do?

Jesus didn’t just tell us what to do. He gave us an example. He humbled himself and left heaven to become a man. He lived with us, in the midst of all our sin. He healed people’s diseases, fed them when they were hungry, and then allowed them to kill Him — all to secure our salvation. He stepped down from heaven, reached into our lives, and showed us what real love looks like.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus . . .” Let’s show our children what it means to lay down our lives for others. We can lay down our lives as we get on our knees and work alongside them. Let’s lead by example.


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  1. Do you think it counts if I am giving jobs to each person and we are all working at the same time? Or do I as a mom need to be doing the same thing they are? For instance, meal cleanup. I finished first and cleared off a counter then left to put little ones to bed. Then I checked back in to make sure each kid was doing their job, table, floor, dishes and went to nurse the baby. If I get to be there, I help and instruct, but often I’m needed elsewhere. Would you say that to lead by example I should be doing the same job at the same time or is doing all the jobs at some point enough? Always trying to figure out how to create a better environment here.

  2. Obviously, there’s no one “right” way to do this. If everyone is happily doing their work with your arrangement, then it’s working!

    I was thinking especially of parents whose children may not have the best of attitudes about their chores. It might help in those situations, if they stepped in and did the yuckiest part of a job along with the child once in awhile. It’s also good to not delegate all the less desirable jobs to the children. We should be willing to clean the toilet, too, if we’re asking one of the children to do that job. Maybe we could surprise a child once in awhile and tell him we’re giving him a day off from a particular job while we do it for him.

  3. I love this article. Having 4 children it’s often easy to get caught up in physically caring for the home, while forgetting to think of the emotions. Am I being fair to my child? Are they assigned a job truly withing their ability? Do my children see me work?
    Read my Bible? Etc.
    truly thought- provoking for me.