Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Be Care Little Ears What You Hear!

You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (Colossians 3:7-10, NLT)

My son's fifth grade teacher has a reward program for her students called "Parra Bucks" (named thus after the teacher).  When the children accomplish certain goals, engage in positive behaviors and get their work done, they earn these Para Bucks.  However, when they have infractions of various kinds, they lose those Parra Bucks.  This has great impact in that the students are allowed to spend those rewards each Friday afternoon at her "store" which is full of a wide variety of tchotchkes to delight every kid.

One recent school day, my son left school deflated.  When I asked him what had happened, he revealed that he had lost his first Parra Buck in class that day.  (I thought that was pretty decent for being three-quarters of the way through the school year!)  He also confessed that he had lost the buck because he had blurted out a certain expletive in frustration.  Unfortunately, it was an expletive he had heard at home...  from ME!

A dear, godly friend of mine, Margo Fieseler often challenges both myself and other ladies in our Bible study with the reminder, What spills out of you when life bumps into you?  Ouch!  That is always a powerful admonition to me!  And when my son came home with his aforementioned infraction, those words came to mind once again.

You see, good or bad, we are our children's main instructors.  It is a proven fact that our kids will do what they see us do and say what they hear us say.  While we often relinquish responsibility to schools and church programs, the majority of their life is spent with their primary caregiver(s).  We're the ones who teach them to walk, to talk, to dress themselves, to problem-solve.  Learning right from wrong originates with us, no matter what the cognitive or social abilities of our children are. 

That being said, we can make a deliberate decision.  Do we want to reflect God's glory?  Or do we want to stand in dark contrast to it?  Do we want our children to be a positive influence on everyone they come into contact with?  Or do we want people to greet our children with a sense of dread?  What sort of future adults do we want to leave behind?

Once we have answered those questions, a new one arises.  How do we get it done?  It starts as with everything, by spending daily quiet time in God's word and prayer.  It's during that time that we learn what the Lord wants us to look like and confess our frailties to Him.  We grow to know Him, his ways and his good desires for our lives by reading about those who have gone before us.  We have His commands hidden in our heart.  And we gain discernment and wisdom.  But it doesn't end there, because we're human.  We must also ask for the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, to take over, create new habits and strengthen us.  Practicing these skills will also make them habit to us.  So when life bumps into us, good spills out more often than not.

Watching what we say or do becomes less problematic when we have given ourselves over to being conformed more the likeness of Christ.  Letting of go of those bad habits and less-than-favorable behaviors will probably take us the remainder of our days on earth.  But moving in the right direction in ever-increasing measure should be our goal.  And when it is, we can feel better about how we are managing the little eyes and ears that are on us, even at times when we are unaware.

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