One of the things I've come to realize as my parenting years went by is just how daunting my accountability really is, as a parent. While I can look to the Holy Spirit to be the ultimate illumination and sanctification of my children, I do have a great deal to do with how their characters shape up. Just as they inherit genetic aspects of mine, so they also inherit behavioral traits. I'm not proud of my less than stellar control over my temper (and my mouth, when the former slips). I see the fruits of my trespasses in my children, who can be emotional and/or grouchy as a result. In a truly horrifying way, "my sin is always before me". Which brings me to my point: I need sanctification. Thank God for his free gift of the Holy Spirit who is the Sanctifier, but I'm not making the job easy. And my other point is that this need to be made holy, set apart for God and consecrated for good works, is an urgent need. I have a long way to go in ridding myself of my attachment to Sin, and that's a big problem, for nothing unclean may enter the Kingdom. But it isn't just that I might die tomorrow and I'm not ready. I think it is a bigger problem that I might still be alive tomorrow and I would have left my children with unresolved bad examples to follow. I'm not exaggerating my role in their upbringing, for I know that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source of their growth in the faith, hope and love. But I do know how my actions have badly affected their behavior in some ways.
I don't want to define the boundaries of my sons' ideals based on my failures. That is simply not fair to them. Like me, the inheritance marked out for them is of the best: Heavenly glory. My bad example pulls them down and away from that! I've often thought of it in terms of health and hygiene. If I needlessly risk my health, I might fall ill and either fail to care for them due to some debilitation or.. bring home a virus that will in turn infect them.
Which is why sanctification is urgent for parents. We must cooperate with grace and do our darnedest best to become holier men and women. It's a matter of life and death, joy and misery, and it isn't just mine that's on the line.