Hey guys, I just wanted to tell you guys something I know I've told you before...but, hey, reinforcing and reminding is good, right?
You are being watched.
The little ones always see you. Your peers see you. Those older than you (guess what?!) see you. Everything you do around others is seen. Only those things that are done when you are alone are not seen.
You are being copied.
Ever see a little kid spout off to their parents and wonder what those parents do at home? hmm. Interesting. If you look closer you'll see that a lot of times, the kids are doing just what their parents are doing. Don't get me wrong though! There are many cases in which the kids are doing something completely abhorrent to the parents, but you can be assured that the kids are learning it somewhere and from someone. You put your attitude in the copy machine and *pop!* an exact replica comes out on a different sheet of paper. Sounds pretty accurate to me.
Just recently I had the opportunity to see this in action...unfortunately. A group of teens of which I was a part of were watching an exceedingly large group of young children for a few hours. Unfortunately, one teen thought it best to start yelling at the kids; another thought it best to stand on a chair and raise their voice (not yell, just speak really loudly); and a bunch of them thought it best just to leave a couple of us to our own demise and just left the room.
The teen who frequently yelled at the kids, needless to say, didn't get anywhere with it. In fact, the kids just got rebellious at this act, and simply made more noise.
The teen who stood on the chair and raised their voice didn't get any response at all.
The teens who left the room...yeah, they didn't even try.
Finally, after I'd stayed shut up for way too long, I broke up the yelling and calmly asked the boys who were causing the most ruckus to watch out for the younger ones and be quieter. They responded by being open to me with their feelings and wants, they were calm, and they behaved quite nicely the rest of the time. What caused this difference?
When you love like Christ, when you act like Christ, when you serve and care like Christ, you get a different response. When you respond out of love in every situation, you can make ANY situation better. Guaranteed.
Most people today do not respond that way. They respond my yelling, then breaking down because no one is listening, and yelling some more out of anger. But when kids (and teens and adults) are treated with love as fellow human beings, and not as animals needing to be herded and led about, they usually respond back in love - at least, if not in love, they are calmer and respect you more for you are taking control of the situation calmly.
Therefore I exhort you, my dear brothers and sisters - set the example!
Love like Christ. Serve like Christ. Care like Christ. Behave like Christ. And finally, have the attitude of Christ. Do all things out of love, not out of anger or frustration; those things get you no where, but love conquers.
In Christ alone,
NOTE: I absolutely do not hold anything against those teens that I mentioned! They just haven't learned that lesson yet. I pray that I might be an example to them that they might see Christ through me.