NEW CASTLE —
So we were watching old home movies the other night.
There was our daughter, Carly, bouncing around the house in her jammies. She had just finished a breakfast of “pan-a-cakes” and was about to head out to “gymagics” for some tumbling practice.
Then there was our son, David, responding to questions about his typical day. Even at age 2, he displayed poise and eloquence.
What is your name? “Davin Ko’jay.”
What is your favorite sport? “Foo’pall.”
Why football? “Because I frow ball up sky.”
No doubt your family videos feature much of the same content.
But then it hit me. There was something quite telling about that time period in our kids’ lives that isn’t always apparent from the footage.
I remembered that I was once their hero.
Thank God, now they know better.
I think God has wired all of mankind to go through three stages of life. The first is “Watch Me.”
We see it in the home, at the office, on the playing fields and in the classroom.
We hear it all the time, too: “More things are caught than taught.”
We are all leaders, no matter what stage of life we’re in. We don’t even need a title. We just need to breathe and do stuff and there’s a good chance someone will watch us.
Makes sense. Before we jump into any endeavor, it’s wise to get a good look at someone who’s gone before us.
Motivational guru Tony Robbins has built an empire on that premise: Find someone successful who’s doing what you want to do and watch how they do it. Then make that your business model.
So, what am I fixing my eyes on at home? What do I watch, listen to and log on to?
Better question: WHO am I fixing my eyes on?
What we behold, we become.
After time spent watching someone, we have to make a decision — can they be trusted?
Now we enter the “Trust Me” stage. Perhaps you can relate to these questions.
•Will you catch me at the bottom of the slide?
•Is the roller-coaster really safe and fun?
•Is broccoli good for me? It sure is nasty.
•Will you be able to make it to my baseball game?
Then it extends from the home in many ways. We research potential companies to work for. We study up on the new car we want. We read the reviews before spending $10 on the blockbuster movie. We take a “wait and see” attitude with the new boss or our new coach.
But if we really want to be trusted, our children, our employees and our players need to know we value them for who they are, not for what they can do. It’s corny but it’s true: People need to know how much we care before they care how much we know.
In other words, there has to be some sort of a relationship before there can be trust.
Can I be trusted? Can you?
We’ll have to spend some time together to find out.
And once a parent, coach or leader gains trust, there’s the hope that we’re worth following.
I call it the “Follow Me” stage.
The interactions can be superficial:
•“What did you order? That sounds good ... I think I’ll have the same.”
•“Where did you get those jeans? I’ll have to check out that store.”
•“Who did you get to fix your sink? Do you have their phone number?”
•“What diet did you say you’re on? Can you give me some recipes?”
Or they can have eternal consequences. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul ramps it up big-time.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
I try. Lord knows I try.
And I fail too often than I care to admit in a public forum.
BUT THERE’S HOPE
Please don’t misunderstand me.
There’s no alcohol abuse.
No gambling or porn addiction, either.
Truth be told, I live a pretty “clean” life these days. Some might even call it boring.
I know those of you who knew me 25 years ago might not believe it, but I have no reason to lie.
Yet that doesn’t mean there’s full-on obedience either.
•For every time my kids see me reading the Bible, they probably see me checking my Facebook status or Twitter feed.
•For every time my kids see me praying, they’ve probably heard me criticize a politician.
•For every time they see me worship on a Sunday, they probably see me in front of the TV worshiping professional athletes.
But I thank God that He’s never asked me to be a perfect husband or father. He knew me before I was born, so that certainly wasn’t part of His plan.
I thank God that the focus of our faith is not on the redeemed — but on the Redeemer.
I thank God the Bible presents a real Hero — a real rescuer for my kids — and it doesn’t ask me to hold down that job.
Remember the three stages — Watch Me, Trust Me, Follow Me — that we looked at earlier? From an eternal perspective, they’ve been taken care of for us.
That’s the good news of Christianity. That’s the freedom of the gospel. I no longer HAVE to do those things to be right with God. Instead, I DESIRE to, as haphazardly as it may be at times.
So my role then, as a dad, is not to watch, trust and follow perfectly so my kids will do the same. It’s to continually point my children to The Hero who has already done those things perfectly in my place — and in theirs.
In other words, the less the focus is on us and how we fall short in those areas, the greater our light actually shines.
Now THAT’S a bright idea worth sharing.
(Tim Kolodziej is executive editor at The News. To follow him on Twitter, CLICK HERE.)
NEW CASTLE —
So we were watching old home movies the other night.
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