Monday, July 13, 2009

Leading by Example

I let myself get more irritated every time I give Natalie a peanut butter or tuna sandwich. Why you may ask? Well she has developed a habit I never gave a second thought to until recently. Anytime she eats a sandwich she completely deconstructs it; right down to scraping off any condiment on the bread with her fingers. This of course makes a HUGE mess for me to clean up, and if you know me you know I loathe cleaning.

Natalie wanting to be just like mommy as she shops!
Last week though I had had enough! I was tired of scrubbing all the peanut butter from between her fingers and sometimes off her clothes and anywhere else her dirty fingers wandered. I sat down to eat lunch with Natalie and I showed her how to eat a sandwich correctly. Why hadn't I thought of this sooner?! She picked it up and happily ate her tuna sandwich all together instead of piece by piece! By simply reminding her to eat it properly each time since, she has followed through and continues to leave me with so much less to worry about cleaning after she has eaten! I am just still so surprised at myself for not doing this sooner. In the past I would just instruct her to not pull it apart, but by taking the time, just a few minutes, to actually show her it made all the difference.
Wonder who she picked this on up from?!

Its funny how God shows me these little connections between everyday life and what He has to teach me in the bigger picture. This same little lesson I learned last week, I was able to think about even further as I listened to Pastor Joe's sermon this past Sunday. He talked about how Jesus led by example. Out of the time the disciples spent with Jesus, the first year all they really did was watch Jesus as He went about ministering to people. Then they could see how they should minister. Of course I have always known I should strive to be like Jesus, to follow in His foot steps, but just thinking about how Natalie, and someday Zachary, will watch me and look to me to learn how they should behave and act makes it all the more important. Natalie is at that age when she is watching every move I make and listening to every word I say- though sometimes I wish she would just obey more of the words I say! When I truly sit down to think about all the ways she mimics me, all the habits she picks up from me it is very convicting. Now so far I don't think she has picked up anything too bad from me, but I need to be much more aware of my own actions and how they may appear to my children. I think about how maybe I should read my bible out in the living room instead of retreating to my bedroom every time, and at the same time I should probably read it aloud more often when the children are around. I also think about how Jon and I interact, sometimes the way we joke with each other may not seem so much like joking to a 3 year old who doesn't understand sarcasm. I think about how my attitude may be showing when I unhappily go about doing the housework, I shouldn't treat them so much as chores as I should consider them part of taking care of my family which I am happy to do. These little habits we may not even realize we are showing so much really can rub off and impact our children. I want my habits to be always joyful, positive, and above all, Godly, so that my children will mimic that those same habits someday!
I hope this encourages everyone to take a look at their own lives and maybe see some areas they need to change so that they may reflect Jesus to their children always! We need to always strive to follow in His example, just as our children will follow the example we leave them.
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the
believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Timothy 4:12 (NKJV)
And these words which I command you today shall be in your
heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and
when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:18 (NKJV)

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