A couple of weeks ago, I was in Starbucks with my youngest two kiddies (3yrs and almost 2yrs). We had popped in to get some snacks during shopping trip. They had been well behaved and I had promised a treat, so smoothies and shortbread was well received by both of them. Plus I never turn down coffee.
When we were seated, I looked at my 3 yr old and said, ‘should we give thanks for the food?’. She replied with an eye roll and said ‘we don’t pway here mummy!’.
In one cute little statement she crushed my mood and my spirit. Sitting now writing this post I can speak calmly and reflect on the situation, but that day I have never felt like such fraud.
Here I was, the mummy blogger, the stay-at-home mum who actually makes a living from encouraging and inspiring other women to serve God through their motherhood, yet my child thought praying in starbucks was ridiculous. Was I deluding myself that all I teach my kids is for show? Have I not shown them how to live out their faith in the public sphere as well as the private?
Never before have a drank a latte so thoughtfully. It could well have been tiredness and overwhelm that made me feel so bad, I don’t know. Looking back now, I know it’s not the end of the world, and given that my child is only 3 yrs old, I have many more years to teach her that we can and should pray anywhere. But the very brief encounter reminded me of an important fact – Children are always watching. They follow OUR lead. Up to certain age they WILL accept what we do as normal behaviour, and very often they will continue these habits into adulthood, positive AND negative.
When I thought about it, how often do I actually give thanks for food audibly when I’m out in public? It’s something I need to be more mindful of, especially when the children are with me. If we are serious about our beliefs and we want our children to follow God and live their lives fully for him, then we need to live it out before them. Like the old saying reminds us ‘more is caught than taught’.
I think there’s 3 things we need to keep in mind everyday
- We are not perfect parents, but we serve a perfect God who works through imperfect parents. Although we often feel defeated in our efforts to raise our children, we are not alone.
- The most important character trait that we can share with our children, is humility – admit when we’re wrong or have made a mistake, explain how to correct it and move on.
- Every day is a new opportunity to improve on the day before.