“My wife’s children are really religious, but they don’t teach their kids any manners,” my 95-year-old patient observed. His remark struck a chord within me, because I am sure there was a lot more behind that statement. I’ve thought about it many times in the weeks since then.
As a new mom, expecting my baby in about three months, I've been carefully observing parents and children I see at church, the grocery store, and within my own family, and taking mental notes on how parents of both well-behaved and unruly children interact with their kids. My patient’s observation put very simply is what everyone realizes, whether consciously or subconsciously: The way our children act is a reflection on us. And not only are they a reflection on our tactics, but also on our beliefs and values.
I’m a hospice nurse, so I take care of patients who are terminally ill. For some of them, I may be the last Christian whom they encounter before they enter eternity. It’s a pretty sobering reality for me. This particular gentleman, Mr. G, has loudly declared that he “can’t stand Jesus freaks.” I am trying to develop a good rapport with him so that I may have the opportunity to share Christ with him before he dies, but he is already biased against Christianity. And sadly, his wife’s grandchildren have helped to solidify his disdain for Christians. While his stepchildren may have verbalized the truth about God to him, their failure to teach their children respect for others has spoken louder than their words.
As Christian moms, we need to remember that an unbelieving world is watching us, scrutinizing our every move, and waiting for us to verify all that they believe about Christians. That means that we don’t just feed, clothe, and house our children, but we raise them to be witnesses for the Truth in the way they behave and interact with others.
This is a pretty daunting task for any mom, especially one like me, whose parenting experience extends to only a few months of pregnancy. I’m not sure I will even know what to do when my baby cries, much less know how to raise him or her to be a witness for God. I know I am not perfect (and I know my children won't be either), therefore I must do all I can to learn, grow, and practice. The way I parent will impact eternity, not only for my children, but also for a watching world.