Isn’t it fascinating how our words, when they pass through the ears of a child, somehow morph into something entirely different?
Hidden Lessons in Daily Actions
Consider a familiar scenario: A father, absorbed in his work, motions to his child to convey to the person on the phone that he is not home. On the surface, it seems like an innocent, harmless trick to dodge an inconvenient conversation. However, through the eyes of a child, this action translates into a tacit approval of dishonesty when circumstances are less than desirable. Despite the father’s pure intention, the child learns, “Lying can be convenient, and it’s okay if Dad does it, why shouldn’t I?” Unintentionally, an action born of circumstance becomes a lesson etched in a child’s mind.
Road Rage Teachings
Picture a long, drawn-out journey home from church, the car stuck in traffic behind a slow driver. As patience thins, tempers flare, and the father begins venting his frustration on the oblivious driver ahead. The car falls silent, the atmosphere tense. Children, in their innocence, decipher this situation as permission to vent their anger when faced with obstacles or delays. An unwanted lesson of reacting to pressure with anger is imprinted in their hearts.
Dining on Gossip
Thinks about the Sunday lunch tradition, where conversations often veer into criticizing absent individuals, even figures of respect such as the pastor. Children, silent observers of these discussions, may interpret these actions as a green light to belittle or disparage others when they aren’t around to defend themselves. The phrase, “Can you believe so and so said that?” may innocuously roll off our tongue, but to a child, it may imply, “If we disapprove of someone, it’s okay to broadcast it to everyone.”
The ‘If’ in Love
Imagine a child beaming with pride as they share their report card adorned with ‘A’s, basking in their parent’s adulation. But what happens when the grades dip? If praises and expressions of love are tied to achievements, children may misconstrue this conditional praise as conditional love. They might think, “If I don’t do well, I will lose my parents’ love.” In their minds, love becomes a prize to be won through excellence rather than a constant, unchanging force.
Children are keen observers, continuously learning from our actions, which can sometimes drown out our words. We must remember that they tend to mirror what we do more than obey what we say. To prevent unintentional lessons from taking root, let’s strive to embody the principles we want to pass on – honesty, patience, respect, and unconditional love. As the Bible instructs, we must love freely, avoid gossip, and remember that actions indeed speak louder than words.
In the end, our actions and words can become potent teaching tools, for better or worse. After all, children might not always grasp what we’re saying, but they rarely fail to notice what we’re doing.