Setting good example full-time duty

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

I was looking through some old pictures and found a picture of my daughter, Annie, at 3 standing with my shoes on and an old purse slung over her shoulder.

She went through a time where she tried to wear my shoes. Once she would get my shoes on, she would clop around, thinking she was all grown up.

Of course my feet were much larger than hers. But that made no difference. She would slip into my shoes and walk around.

Not only that, she would find my purse, put it on her arm or shoulder and say, “Bye-bye,” and off she would go into the other room. She was doing what she had seen me do many times before.

At the time I thought it was cute. But one day I realized in the middle of this little act of Annie’s that it was more than child’s play. In putting on my shoes and carrying my purse like she was leaving the house, she was trying to be just like me. At the time I would laugh with her and wave goodbye and tell her that she was a “big girl just like Mama.” Yet, I have to admit that as I watched her, I would get an eye-awakening sensation as I thought about her “walking in my shoes” and imitating me.

On a deeper level, it was more than a game. It was Annie trying to be like me, good or bad, right or wrong. In her childlike mind she was looking up to me and imitating me. Now that I have grandchildren, that picture of 3-year-old Annie seems even more relevant today.

What a responsibility. I thought as she grew up over the years that I had better make sure my shoes were headed in the way of the Lord. I know at times she has seen those feet headed in the wrong direction, and I know she has seen me stumble. But the point is she thought what I did was the way to go, and that’s why I had to rely on God to be with me to make sure I was headed in the right direction.

What are we modeling for our children and our grandchildren? Paul wrote in Romans 1:1 he was a “servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” Paul called himself one set apart for the gospel and we as Christians are to be just that — set apart.

Sometimes it is sad that our children and grandchildren see a different picture in us. We may call ourselves Christians, but from time to time we model materialism, greed and worldly values to our children. At times we may be gossipers, unethical, mean spirited, deceitful and haughty.

Sometimes we treat others with less than respect because of our puffed-up pride. We may model a contrite and servant spirit at church, and then our children and our neighbors see quite the opposite at home.

Sometimes our employees and coworkers know a totally different side of us because of our conversations, choice of words and off-color jokes. Sometimes we parents talk one way at church on Sunday and live much differently the rest of the week.

The Christian life is not child’s play, but be assured that our children are watching. Where are you headed in those shoes of yours?

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net