If you believe it's important to teach love to your child and to others around you, you should live a life based on what you preach. You can't claim to be all about love and claim to try and help other people by giving spiritually pure and enlightened advice, when you can't back it up on a personal level. Anyone can give pure, positive, seemingly enlightened advice to others, and even post inspirational love quotes throughout social media. But, that doesn't define who a person is or how they act themselves, and when no when is watching. As a parent, it's important to know that someone is always watching. G-d is watching, but yes, someone else, and yes, I'm referring to your little pip squeaks.
It's important to live your life in a manner in which you follow your own rules. In other words, practice what you preach. If you're going to give other people advice that's supposed to help them live a more positive, enlightened, healthy, happy, and balanced life, preaching that everything should be based on love, loving people, and being a good person, then set an example. You should display acts of kindness and love for yourself, for others around you, and especially for your children to see. They are in fact like sponges. The rumour is true, and yes, they soak up all information whether you notice it or not. Your children see how you act, despite what you teach them. They are constantly watching you and learning from you, so be self-aware enough to think before you speak and act.
Your kids will be the first people in your life to call you out on your sh.., and let you know when you're living in a way that seems opposite of what you preach. Your kids will be the first people to blatantly tell you that you're not always right, and that you're living your life like a double standard. Many times parents don't own up to their mistakes, their double standard way of thinking or acting, and they're only excuse will end up being that they can do what they want because they are an adult. Saying that you're an adult is merely using the word to your advantage. But in the real world, a parent that cares about how their child is being raised and wants them to succeed and become a spiritually enlightened, happy, and healthy individual in life needs to see an example of a positive role model.
Not to fret for those out there that never had good parental figures and role models growing up or if you're a child and currently don't at this time, because role models can be found anywhere and everywhere, and not only through parents. People can have role models that could be inspirational speakers, teachers, fictional characters that are bright, positive, and intelligent from TV shows, or anywhere else. Having said that, if you're a parent, and you have the power to make a change in your life for the better, you will affect your child for the better, and for the long term if you live by what you say.
Remember, when your child calls you out on your sh... and asks you why are you doing certain things, when you tell them not to, don't respond with, "Because I'm an adult, and when you're an adult, you can make your own decisions." This won't benefit your children and make them into better people. This will only set an example that having double standards is okay, or that becoming the age of 18 and older means that you can be irresponsible, and many other distorted thoughts as well. Your child might even view you as a hypocrite, and develop bitterness or anger towards you, and possibly even implode those feelings.
The last thing that you want as a parent is for your child to be emotionally distant from you. Every parent, including myself wants their kids to view them as a parent and be respectful to them. But, they also want their child to be their best friend. Many times parents will say that they don't want their child to be their best friend, but look at them as a parental figure and role model. My feeling is that it should be all of the above. My kids are my best friends, but there's a time and a place where you have to set boundaries, rules, and limits. Sometimes it's hard to be a best friend and a parent all at the same time. Having said that, and as I'm raising pre-teens now, I can honestly tell you that being all of the above is not only possible, but very rewarding as well. Difficult at times, yes, but rewarding too.