Monday, August 5, 2013

Modeling Scripture

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3: 16-18 (NIV)

It had been an extremely fun, but busy day for our family. Earlier that morning we decided to make a last minute trip to the beach with some friends and enjoy this summery, spring weather. I had  two small children at the time so this was no small feat. We had to gather swim gear, pack towels, blankets, chairs, umbrellas, and of course, lunch. On top of that we made a quick stop by my aunt’s house to pick up my little cousin who was on spring break.

Then, we had to go to the grocery store to buy sandwiches, snacks, and sunscreen. It was an eventful day, and it was only 10 in the morning! Surprisingly although the sun was hot, the breeze was cold, and the water was even colder—perhaps this is why we stayed so long and literally baked in the sun.
Afterall, we “felt” cool the whole time.

After the beach, I realized that we needed to make another run to the store to buy stuff for dinner. While we were in the store, I realized that we would have to make yet another stop because this store did not have a few key items that we needed. Once we made it to that second store, a shopping trip for a few items turned into shopping for a great deal of items because we were now shopping while hungry. LOL :)

We were all tired. Oh yeah, did I mention that I was expecting, and I was beyond done for the day? So…as we gladly made our way to the car, I looked under the car-style shopping cart and realized that I had forgotten that I had placed a couple of items underneath the cart. Ahhhh! We needed to go back inside. I had a decision: Tell Publix I owed them next time we went to the store (this option was enticing)…or turn around right then with the kids and go back to pay for the “hidden” groceries. I chose the latter.

I know this is a small decision amidst the many larger ones in life, but this got me thinking about modeling right behavior for our kids even when we don’t feel like it, and when we think no one is watching. Well, we returned to the store to pay for the groceries, but there was no “Great job…what honesty Mom!” from the cashier. She simply looked tired and a bit annoyed. There was no congrats for doing the right thing and saving the store she worked for lost revenue, but still my kids were watching and they knew why Mommy was going back into the store yet again.

Linda Anderson did a segment on “Raising Daniels” in her Mom to Mom video series. She outlined the maturity of Daniel and his comrades from the Bible, and she highlighted that Daniel walked with integrity, honesty, and self-discipline. There was such a wealth of knowledge that she shared with us, and for the sake of time I will not go into all the details. But some of the main points were as follows:

• Integrity: model it and give your kids windows into your choices. Also, put positive peer pressure to work for you—get them involved in your church youth group, service projects, etc.
• Honesty: Put a high premium on it, and reward truth-telling even in the face of consequences.
• Self-discipline: Since “smaller disciplines prepare for bigger decisions”, help your kids practice delayed gratification and advance decision-making (i.e. help them establish a plan or guide post before they get into “the situation”). Give them the security of rules and boundaries and the reasons “why” when you can. Also, provide smaller consequences to prevent larger ones.

Last but not least, she reemphasized that we should model self-discipline in our own lives—with our time, money, eating, language, etc. So Mom, how are you doing? I know I could stand to brush up in a few areas. I often need to manage my time better. I tend to do too much too often. What about you? In what ways can you model integrity, honesty, and self-discipline to your kids?

Challenge: Reflect on your own life. Where do you need to improve? What windows into your choices can you let your children peer into?

Further reading: Daniel 3:1-30

Heavenly Father, you are perfect and full of love for your children. Help us to be imitators of you, not for our own glory, but for yours. May we grow in our integrity, honesty, and self-discipline. Please point out the ways in which we can model You to our kids and a watching world. In Jesus’ name I pr

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