Lying next to each other in his bed, my nine-year-old Dawson says, “Daddy! Do you know that you have hair growing in your ears? You need to find a really good barber and have him take care of that.”
Thank you, son.
I already knew the inevitable fact that I do have hair growing in my ears. Weekly, I get the small pair of scissors and trim back the ever-growing weed coming out of the dark recesses of my ear.
Surely my wife and barber have noticed it too. My barber actually recently told me while working on my hair, “I see we have a situation we are dealing with up here.” That was his nice way of saying, “You have a growing bald spot.”
But my son is not quite old enough to adopt the cultural norms of not always stating the obvious. He often shares out of the mouth what he observes with his eyes.
Our children listen to the prayers we pray. They hear the Bible lessons we share with our family around the table. They watch as we talk with people at church on Sundays or Wednesdays. Because I am a pastor, my children hear the sermons I preach. The other week Dawson asked candidly, “Daddy, can you please stop yelling when you preach?”
But what they quietly observe from my life may make more impact than what they hear out of my lips. They watch the way I treat my wife when they know I am aggravated with her. They see how I respond to the store clerk or waitress when they have goofed. They know the language I use at home, the entertainment I choose, and they know whether or not I love and pick up the Word of God to nourish my soul—or only read it when I am preparing to preach.
One of the sobering realities of parenting is that our children quietly observe Mom and Dad every day. They know the real us. They will remember the real us for many years.
And our example may be the standard they use when they have families of their own.
So how does my real self line up to my public image and to the words I say? Those little eyes are watching.
Lord, help me to walk with You in integrity and faithfulness. May your grace enable me to live
authentically before my children. May they see in my life a man who depends on the grace of God to be his light and voice in this world.