Child should follow parent’s steps to God

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

I was looking through some old pictures and found a picture of then three year old Annie 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 that she was all grown up. Of course my feet were much larger than hers but that made no difference. She would slip into them and walk around. Not only that, she would find my purse, put it on her arm or shoulder and then with my shoes on and purse on her arm, she would say “Bye, Bye,” and off she would go into the other room. She was doing what she had seen me doing many times before.

At the time I thought it was cute. But then 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 bye 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 three year old 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 that 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 that I was headed in the right direction.

Now Annie is grown but I need to think about my grandchildren so I have to be cognizant of the influence I have on them.

What are we modeling for our children and our grandchildren? Paul wrote in Romans 1:1 that 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 very 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 due to 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 different 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?