I really think modeling and living the dhamma as best we can is the most important thing we can do. My sons have seen me meditate, almost every morning. They also see how i react to stress and emotions, we discuss their feelings, life problems. I do my best to use the brahmaviharas as a guide in my interactions with them, keep working on myself as best i can. My parents were like that, they had their issues, but they had were also wise in many ways. As i got older i think that wisdom has been a guide (and probably the not so wise has guided me as well). Buddha emphasized cause and effect, that if you think certain ways that will have an impact, an effect on your actions and feelings. Our parents were primary teachers of these matters, because we grew up and observed them, constantly. And now we as parents are doing this as well, sometimes "demonstrating" the wisdom of the dhamma and sometimes not.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009