I was part of a wonderful trip this past weekend. A few of us old fogies *cough* adults had the pleasure of escorting some of our elementary aged church children to the Zoo.
It was a grand time. The children especially seemed to enjoy feeding the fish. Getting up close to a Cheetah was a thrill all on its own. And the penguins…err… Well, who would have thought they smelled that way?
All in all, it was an especially nice time.
We filled our little church van up, and headed to home. One of our adult wranglers, I mean sponsors had an interesting conversation with one of the little girls right behind me. Granted, I only caught half of the conversation, since I was driving. They seemed to be talking about a movie she had recently seen. I don’t recall the name of the movie, again my attention was elsewhere.
I came in on the part where the adult said, “Oh my, there is a lot of dirty words in that movie, isn’t there?”
That caught my attention.
The adult continued on to say something to the affect of, “I hope you don’t grow up saying those kinds of words.”
And then, with all of the heartfelt sincerity a 3rd or 4th grade heart could muster, the little girl said,” Oh no! I don’t want to be anything like my mom.”
Did you catch that?
Go ahead, read it again. I’ll wait for you.
If that one statement doesn’t break your heart, then you either don’t have children or you don’t care about your children.
Did that sound harsh? Good, it was supposed to.
What little girl shouldn’t look up to her mom? What little boy shouldn’t think that his daddy could whoop every other daddy on the block? In what sick world, are we so twisted and perverted that parents do things so horrible that their eight year old children know that nothing about their lives are worth imitating?
Oh yeah, the one we live in.
The truth is, no matter how much this little girl says that she doesn’t want to be like her mom, she will probably turn out very similar to her. Why? Because our children catch much more from us than what we intentionally teach them. Many things about her mother will be passed onto her.
That was a wake up call to me. I have to be more intentional in how I live, especially those times where I think I’m not seen. Those moments will end up teaching more to my own children than anything else. Our church also needs to do more for its children’s ministry. Yes, we will never come close to having the same kind of influence that the dysfunctional mothers and fathers out there have, but we are compelled to do something.
Our God is still stronger than any one family’s dysfunction.