Walk the Talk

image_gallery“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 gives us guidance of what to give our children in order to equip them to live faith-filled lives, but what happens if we don’t start well?

I’m the baby of my family by several years. When my sisters and I were little, I was often left out of situations and experiences, but I was a witness to much. One pushed the other and broke a window. (It wasn’t as violent as it sounds.) One took the farm truck and got stuck in a field road. They had friends at the house even though our parents had said no visitors. Chores didn’t get done. The list goes on.

They knew things I did wrong, too. To tattle or not to tattle? To follow the example or follow instruction?

I didn’t tattle often – because I got bribes. The funny thing is my parents found out most everything anyway. When there’s a broken window or a truck out of place, it doesn’t take long to discover.

Fast forward a generation. I don’t think I’ve ever told my daughters “do what I say, not what I do,” but I know there have been many contradictions between what I said and did. Despite all their good qualities and habits, there have been times I’ve thought, “Of all things, did they have to pick up that from me?!”

Our lives will be contradictory. We don’t realize every contradiction, but what do we do with the ones we notice? Consider what hypocrisies annoy or pain you in others. What contradictions are in your own life? You don’t have to be perfect, but in order to teach your children (and others), you have to be willing to be taught. Start today.

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

I’m the baby of my family. My sisters are a few years older than me and less than a year apart. When we were little, I was left out of a lot of things…but still witnessed many things. Like when one pushed the other and broke a window. When someone took the farm truck (before she had a driver’s license) and got stuck in a field road. When they had friends at the house even though our parents had said no visitors. When chores didn’t get done. The list goes on.

They knew lots of things I did wrong, too. To tattle or not to tattle. That was the question. I’ve heard most little sisters tattle a lot. I’m sure I did sometimes, but it wasn’t often. Not because I held myself to a higher standard.

I didn’t tattle because…I got bribes.

Candy bars were most common. Every now and then a dollar was involved, but I was satisfied with candy bars.

The funny thing is…most the things I received bribes over things my parents found out anyway. When there’s a broken window or a truck out of place, it doesn’t take long to discover. What role models I had!

Fast forward a generation. I don’t think I’ve ever told my daughters “do what I say, not what I do,” but I know there are many things I’ve done that have contradicted what I’ve said. They’re wonderful young women – despite our limited parenting – but there have been times I’ve thought, “Of all things, did they have to pick up that from me?!”

We’re all going to live some contradictions. Some we don’t realize, but what do we do with the contradictions we notice?

What hypocrisies annoy or pain you in others?

What contradictions are in your own life?

When you sew, everything needs to line up in order to get a well-fitted garment. Pin a safety on your shirt along one of the seams, preferably where you’ll notice it. Let it serve as a challenge to be consistent through the day. Match up the seams of your life.

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth over a hole in an old coat. Otherwise, the patch will shrink and pull away—the new patch will pull away from the old coat. Then the hole will be worse. Mark 2:21