The light was red as I pulled up to the car. Glancing over, I observed the woman playing with her phone. A young boy, twelve-ish, sat in the passenger seat next to the woman.
I thought, “Look what she’s teaching that kid.” I imagined him growing up, getting a license and deciding texting while driving is okay.
Now she was at a red light and I think she put the phone down pretty quickly after she started through the intersection, but I’m thinking distracted waiting leads to distracted driving.
As we were separated by traffic, each going wherever it was we were going, I continued thinking about the woman and her phone and the boy in the car.
Our children watch us. They learn from us. They make decisions like us. Not just our children, but those we are around and share life with. We “rub off on each other.” We begin using the same phrases. Hanging out in the same places. Making similar choices about what to read and watch and eat.
“What a horrible example. Put down the phone and drive. Whatever it is, it can wait.”
As I ran through my critique of this woman and what I judged to be some less-than-stellar role-modeling, God punched me in the face.
Well, maybe not punched me, but I felt a solid nudge. And maybe it wasn’t my in my face, but in my heart.
I began to reflect on my own role-modeling.
I want children who pray. When do I pray with them? When do they see me praying?
I want children who treat others with respect. When do they see me respecting others? When do they receive respect from me?
I want children who give generously. When do they see me sharing? When do they experience me giving myself away?
They’ll text while driving if I text while driving. They’ll share their lives with God if they see and hear and feel me sharing my life with God.
As my mind considered my own example, I discovered I have been largely ignoring the formation of my own children. Judging others while driving isn’t what I want my children to learn from me.
So, I’m deciding to worry less about what random strangers do at red lights. I’m going to focus instead on the legacy I am building. I’m going to be more aware of the ways I model the Christian life for and with those around me. I’m going to be and do what I pray my children become and do.
I thank the lady at the red light. Not for texting and driving (that’s dangerous), but for being the catalyst for some self-reflection. This reflection reminds me I need help, encouragement, support, the positive example of others to do this thing called life, especially the part known as parenting. So, here’s to hoping we can be positive role-models for each other. Are you with me?
Life is better together,