They see you at your worst – in the morning, with your glamorous Bedhead Bouffant; in the afternoon, when the remote isn’t cooperating, so you throw it against the wall; in the evening, when you’re telling the same boring story over in one conversation and don’t realize it. You can’t get away with seeming invincible and omniscient once your kids hit puberty. Now somebody’s watching what you do.
“I want to be just like my dad when I grow up – only without the drinking and smoking.” One of my son’s friends, at only eleven, recognized the faults of his father while summing up the downside of those two wonderful and bewildering neighborhoods: adulthood and parenthood.
As a parent, being a “good person” is kind of a moving target. Now, I don’t smoke, drink, gamble, or shop too much – in fact, I’m considering developing a really wicked vice – I’ve got to get some pizazz in my life, you people!
But what I know I do that I shouldn’t is to judge people in a harsh way. I love reading celebrity gossip. So am I fulfilling my mandate to set a good example for my son? I know that when I say, “Do you think she meant to wear that outfit?” in my snarky tone about some celebrity, my son rolls his eyes.
Would I be surprised if my boy grew up to be sarcastic and critical? It does weigh on my mind, but I haven’t found a way to tone down my cheeky comments yet. Just as my son’s friend’s father might be shocked if his son grew up to be a heavy drinker and chain smoker.
Maybe the moral is to stop expecting others to be role models for our children, and to take back that mantle as parents. If we place our trust in God, and we do our jobs well now, maybe they’ll remember that, even if we stumbled occasionally, we lived what we taught them, and that may be enough to keep them on the right road.
- Ruth Williams, Prayables
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