As parents we have a huge responsibility in raising our kids. It’s important that we teach them how to properly care for themselves and their belongings, how to behave and speak, how to treat others, etc, because we want them to be responsible, respectable adults and- most importantly- live a life for Christ.
I try to lead by example in many things and take opportunities to use our daily life as a teaching tool for my kids, but occasionally- most often during or after school- we have a real good talk. Perhaps an event during the day sets it off, perhaps it’s something that’s on my heart, or perhaps the kids ask a question that triggers it.
That said, we have our fair share of crazy days and, like any mom, I sometimes wonder if I’m teaching them properly, if anything that comes out of my mouth is being stored in their heads somewhere. When I’ve repeated myself over and over, or when I’ve quoted our “good talks” as a reminder of what to do or what not to do, I wonder if said talks go in one ear and out the other because, (I come by this honestly), I can talk and talk and keep talking and repeat what I said and know it’s all good stuff but fail to notice the kids getting distant until one finally says, “Okay mom, we get it”.
Recently, I’d been talking with the kids about the impressions they give to others, that they need to always behave and obey, to be on their best behavior when we are out so that others will see the good kids that they are (and see their light shining).
So today we needed to take a trip to the grocery store. Ah, a trip to the grocery store with 4 kids is always an adventure. Sometimes they’re so well behaved that we get compliments from people, and other times I end up making them all keep a hand on the cart because they can’t keep their hands off of things, or they think they need to race each other to the end of the aisle and grab what we need because, well, that’s more fun right? By the end of the trip I feel as if I’ve had a few raised eyebrows from other shoppers and it seems like we can’t get through the checkout line fast enough, and then the entire ride home I’m lecturing them on how to behave properly at the store, how the image they’d projected to those around us was not acceptable or anything to be proud of, etc.
Anyway, today as we were walking in to the store I asked Logan, my 9-year-old, to get a cart for me. He pulled one out and started to bring it over, but upon noticing an older man who had just walked in, he offered it to the man. The man declined, but thanked him. I praised Logan for his thoughtfulness and we went on with our shopping trip. The kids were very well behaved, and I was thankful to be in and out so quickly.
As we were in the self checkout lane I heard a voice behind me and realized it was the man to whom Logan had offered the cart. He approached me and asked if he could buy popcorn balls for the kids (there was a display right by the register). I told him yes, and the kids all thanked him excitedly and waited anxiously for their treats with wide eyes. As the man handed the bag to the kids, (which contained a popcorn ball for each of them and one “for mom and dad too”), he told the kids to remember how much their mom and dad love them, how much God loves them, and to be good and obey. I teared up as I thanked him, then, as we drove home, I reminded them of our prior conversation and praised them for their good behavior.
I am always proud of my kids, but their actions today made me proud of them yet again. I was also so very thankful for the reminder that they DO listen to me more than I think they do, and thankful that God used this man today as a lesson for each of us. Sometimes this mama needs to know she is doing something right, and the kids need to see that their behavior is noticed by more than just their mom.
When you let your light shine, you’ll be rewarded. It may not be in popcorn balls or kind words from a stranger- those are just awesome bonuses- but you will have your reward.