Brady and I have been heading up to Richmond every morning this week for his VCU basketball camp. We (and when I say we, I mean my children and myself, not my never likes to leave Enon husband) enjoy going to the city. The boys get excited when they get to explore different parts of it like Carytown or the Canal Walk. Trips to Richmond also help introduce them to other parts of the world they are not always so aware of when they are in their suburban bubble. Numerous questions come up from different things they observe and from these questions, I’m hoping, reflective conversations.
One question that always inevitably comes up is the one about the homeless people that stand on the sides near the interstate exits. Brady, being almost 10, is extremely concerned about why these people are there. What happened to them to cause them to stand outside and hold a sign all day? He always asks me to give them money. I don’t know if they actually need the money. They might. They might not. I don’t really know.
Here is what I do know. My son is watching me. He is watching me all of the time. He’s watching how I respond to the waitress at the restaurant. He’s watching how I interact with my friends. He’s watching how I greet my husband. He’s watching if I drive past the homeless man, knowing good and well I have five dollars in my wallet.
We are our children’s single biggest influence when they are young. We can talk all day long about showing kindness to others, but our actions always, as we know, speak louder than any word ever will. I don’t want my son remembering a mother who talked to him about showing a Christ like love for others but drove right by every homeless person they saw. I’m sure he’s going to remember all of the other parenting mistakes I have made throughout his life! At least let him remember I could be kind. Remember that saying “Your children are a reflection of you?” This may or may not be true, but I do know, ultimately, who I do want them to be a reflection of and it’s not me.
Dear Paige, Do what He would do. If you have doubts, think about how He would respond. Little eyes are watching you and little ears are listening. Through your actions, honor Him, while teaching your children to become more Christ like as well.
Philippians 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.