Lately I have noticed how many people don’t know or don’t care that they are setting a lousy example for their children. I watch parents screaming, cursing, and calling terrible names as if the kids aren’t there. Sometimes the kids are crying and acting upset while this is going on; often, though, they simply watch as if this is a show they have seen many times before. (How much worse is that?) I am tempted to generalize about why adults do this – lack of maturity seems to be a common theme – but the important point is that they are doing serious damage to children. Kids are sharp and observant, even when they appear to be totally disconnected from their surroundings. I have watched my niece’s three-year-old repeat words he heard one time, even mimicking the tone in which it was delivered.
The Bible teaches us how precious children are to the Lord; I believe a lot of people will be facing unpleasant questions at the final reckoning as to how they treated children in this life. Whether you accept that there will be an ultimate accounting or not, please know that children, whether yours or not, watch everything you do, and that you have no right to be surprised when those kids act out later and display their own version of your behavior. I cannot guarantee that setting a shining example of love and courtesy will make children happy, of course — that would be a little too simple, wouldn’t it? But I do believe you can make a positive, significant difference in your life by treating everyone with respect. That is a pretty good practice at all times, but especially when kids are around.