Driving down the freeway to an early
morning appointment, I passed a local business that has a large pond
some distance off the road. I caught something out of the corner of
my eye on the shoulder of the road. To my horror, I saw a single-file
string of Canada geese, one parent in front, one taking up the rear,
and several little goslings in between, waddling resolutely toward the
I quickly looked in my rearview
mirror to see that string of little honkers obediently following their
parent into the first lane. Since it was very early there was little
traffic, but in my mirror I could see two cars approaching in the distance.
They were out of sight before I could see what happened, but it would
have been difficult to turn that little string of birds around in time
to avert tragedy.
A current billboard shows a child
wearing a seatbelt and says, "Hell do what you do, Dad."
Though many parents feel their kids dont want to do what they
tell them to do, the fact of the matter is that they often do what they
see their parents doing. The silent influence of a mothers or
fathers life continues to be one of the most significant influences
for good or bad on a childs life.
My blood boils when I see a parent
with small children, blowing cigarette smoke into their faces. Second-hand
smoke has resulted in illness in millions of children from those who
should protect them most. Your child has friends who think smoking is
cool; if that view is reinforced by parents, they will likely do it.
The things that are watched in the
home also impact a childs life. Cable television especially
the premium channels can be a terribly detrimental influence.
The more violent, profane and sexual junk parents let into their homes,
the less they should be surprised when a child mimics that negative
behavior. For many it will become a way of life.
Prejudice is something else that
children can pick up from their parents. Only rarely is it aggressive.
Usually prejudice is a subtle thing, often confined to the privacy of
the home. But those slight ethnic slurs or other unkind biases become
reality to a child. And God is not pleased with them.
Parents who smoke, swear, drink,
watch junk or exhibit prejudice in the home should know they are leading
their children down a destructive path.
Your children will follow you. Will
you lead them across the freeway or away from it?