In the movie Monsters, Inc., there is this character named Roz. Because all of the characters are monsters created by Pixar, there are some funny faces but Roz is one of the best. She is an out-of-proportion giant slug and her favorite line—“I’m watching you, always watching you”—is presented in this raspy, dead-panned voice that always makes you laugh. In some ways, she is scary but she makes the other characters always be on their best behavior because Roz is always watching.
Our children are much the same as Roz; they are always watching to see how we do life. They are always watching us and our behavior. It might not be as intentional as Roz but they are watching to see if our actions meet our words—or if our words are merely words. They are not just watching us as we sit in the pew on Sunday mornings; they are watching how we talk about people once we leave the church building. They are watching how we treat people during the week. They are watching how we respond to the stresses of life. They are watching the choices we make.
Which brings us to a very relevant verse that is found in the book of Deuteronomy: These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up (Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 CEB).
The words, handed down from God through Moses, encouraged the Israelites to always be thinking about how God wanted them to live their lives. It was encouragement to those who were trying to be their best. The command, however, was not just about how they were to live their lives but how they were to teach these laws to the next generation. In Moses’ times, teaching was done by reciting lessons over and over. There were no books from which to learn so learning by example was the norm.
Whether we like it or not, our children are watching us—and whether we want to admit it, most of the teaching even today is done by example. We may be surprised the habits and attitudes our children pick up until we take a good look at how we are living our lives. An obvious example is smoking. No matter what health warnings are out there, no matter how many times kids hear about the danger, if they see their parents smoke, there is a pretty good chance they will also.
And before you go pointing fingers, what about the bad habits you have that are hurting your health? What about the TV shows you watch? What about the amount of time they see you reading your Bible versus other reading material?
What are your children and grandchildren seeing? Better yet, what are all the children around you seeing? It’s not just our own children who see the way we act, it is every child and every person around us. You don’t need to have children of your own to serve as an example of good Christian living. Remember your life and the way you live it may be the only Bible some people read.
There is a lot of talk about the next generation and their morals and beliefs. Instead of complaining about the future generation—or our current one for that matter, do your best to be a positive role model who shows all those around you there is a better way. Make every effort to live a life worthy of being called a follower of Jesus Christ because remember: others are watching, always watching.
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