My 15 year-old started driving with her “learners” permit last October. Mind you, “learners” is not how she sees it (more like “knowers”). To her, driving was second nature, something for which she had been counting down the days, when she could be a little closer to the grown-up world.
To her credit, she has been a very good driver from the start…almost too good. Complete stops at every stop sign, driving exactly the speed limit, following every driving rule….I found myself getting really annoyed. Not only was it taking us longer to get everywhere, but my flaws as a driver were really starting to stand out. Did I really not completely stop at stop signs? Did I really always drive over the speed limit? Did I only use my blinker when I knew another car was nearby? Was I really always in such a hurry? Not only was my conscience making this clear to me, my daughter had suddenly become an expert at my driving skills (or lack there of). Just yesterday, as I hurried to drop kids off at acting class, she gave me a lecture (as I was driving) on my speed relative to the speed limit (let’s just say she is a very black and white rule-follower). “Don’t worry about it, this is a road that it is OK to go a little fast” I replied as I checked the rearview mirror for signs of a police car. Inside, I knew she was right. I had been doing a poor job of being a good example to Hannah as a driver. Just because I “know” in my experience where I can cut a few corners, I need to do it the right way. She is watching my every move, and deciding how that will play into how she drives once she has her license.
What else is she watching? What example to her am I being in other areas of my life? I hope better than my driving example. As a Christian, I am held to a higher standard of behavior. I am accountable to the God I believe in, who He wants me to be, and the example I set for others–not just as a mom, but as a friend, as an employee, as a wife, etc. I cannot blow off “the speed limit” of my behavior, just because I’m in a hurry, or hurt, or frustrated. I need to live by the fruits of the Spirit, which God has so graciously given to me to know and to grow in:
But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL.
If I am not being an example of these things to my daughter, and all the other people I encounter in my day, well, I have some work to do. And, I do. But, I am trying (unlike I have been with my driving) to show my daughter that we can love the seemingly unloveable person on the corner begging for money, that joy can be found in my day regardless of my circumstances, that peace comes from trusting God’s great plan for my life, that patience is something to be tested, that kindness can be expressed in small acts of service, that goodness flows from a heart seeking God, that faithfulness is a journey of trust in the unseen, that gentleness is an expression of a heart that is soft, and that self-control comes after a great many failed attempts.
This has been a good reminder to me…I am being watched.
Have a blessed day,