Imagine with me for a moment. Come on; it will only take a minute.
Imagine that you arrive at work tomorrow to find your co-worker in deep distress. She just received a call that her mom suffered a stroke and is being rushed to the hospital.
This distraught colleague is inconsolable. Your heart hurts for her. You urge her to get to the hospital. You even offer to cover for her. But, she decides to diligently finish her deadlines for the day, then race to her mom’s side right after work.
You pray persistently for your co-worker throughout the night and return early to the office for updates. When she arrives, though, she explains that some pressing matters sidetracked her last evening. She adamantly insists that tonight she must see her mom.
The next morning, with a little less urgency, you check on your friend. She laments that the whole ordeal has stressed her to the max. In fact, the escalating exhaustion forced her to collapse in the bed right after work. She assures everyone that tonight is the night she will get to the hospital.
After a few days, neither this woman’s compelling words nor her convincing cries have any power to persuade you that “mama” is a priority to her. You become a bit numb to her “desperation.” What you see exposes the insincerity of what she says.
Wouldn’t this get under your skin? Admit it. It kind of makes your blood boil! The mama in you wants to get up in her face and set things straight.
But whoa there, Sally! Pause it for just a second.
How many times have we communicated priorities to our children, yet allowed our actions to completely undermine the truth we speak?
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Look, folks, children don’t know what you think. They don’t even care how you feel. They are unfazed by your intentions. None of that matters unless you say it and they see it.
If the “saying” and the “seeing” are not married, our words ring hollow, and our living falls flat.
If I tell my children it is worthwhile to help those who cannot help themselves, but they never see me go out of my way to help others, my words mock me.
If I try to convince my kids that prayer is important, but they never see me pray, no matter how persuasively I convey this truth, they are not buying it.
Our kids may not listen well, but they mimic masterfully.
Witnessing us emulate what we say produces real impact. When we take the next step and invite our kids to participate alongside us, the priority becomes exponentially more powerful. Truth gets caught, rather than merely taught. It makes its home so deeply in their souls that, over time, it becomes their “operating system’s” default setting. The priority settles into their hard drive to stay.
Children are amazing imitators. So why not show them something absolutely amazing to imitate?
Parenting is not for wimps. It’s hard work. In fact, it is the hardest work we will ever love. The work of walking our talk pays great dividends as our children emulate it in themselves! We write on the lives of our generations, not with a pencil or disappearing ink, but with permanent marker. God has put it in our hands, Parents. As that canvas of our generations stretches across the days and years, may we love the marks we make!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at HopeCommunityChurch.tv.