My mother and I cannot be the only moms who have ever used the query, “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do it, too?” when attempting to dissuade a child from engaging in some undesirable behavior. I am reasonably certain that I heard several of my friends’ parents use it when we were young, and I believe I also heard several former colleagues use it in speaking with students about classroom behavior.
My oldest daughter is 4 1/2, and when she sees an older child or an adult do or say something that causes people around him or her to react, she has a tendency to imitate the behavior herself at a later date. Sometimes the results are amusing, but as a general rule, she does not get the flavor of reaction she desired. Profane language, touching other people’s body parts, and raising her voice to elderly people are just a few of the lovely manifestations of this phenomenon. And yes, there are people in our orbit who cause me to exercise the discipline of forgiving trespasses.
I try to remain vigilant in my own conduct, so that what our children hear me say and see me do is completely consistent with what my husband and I are teaching them. One of our frequently beaten drums around here is that we are to act rightly at all times and in all things, to follow God’s will above all else, and, when given a set of options, to choose the one that is most agreeable to our consciences and convictions, regardless of that option’s relative popularity.
Oops. I’ve been setting a bad example for the tribe; thankfully, it is one that that have not noticed because they are of such tender years. This http://exis10tial.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/ron-paul-unelectable/ blod post from yesterday smacked me upside the head, metaphorically speaking. Many times over the years, including elections that have fallen within my children’s lifetime, I have not voted for the candidate whose policies, history, and views aligned with the dictates of my conscience, simply because I bought into the argument that he or she lacked the popularity to win office. That’s a poor argument, a horrible lesson to teach my children, and not something I want to defend when I stand before the Lord at the end of my days on this earth.
Apparently, I would jump off the bridge. I think I’ll climb back up and wave at the jumpers instead.
Today’s prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have betrayed You with the choices I have made. You have blessed our family so richly, without any merit on our part. Please help me teach Your blessings that it is not an idea or a person’s popularity with other people that determines its merit, but whether it is agreeable to You. Remind me to obey my conscience in all things, so that Your blessings may see that example, and remind me that no thing which is dedicated to You is ever wasted.