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Being an Example Isn't As Easy As I Thought

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

Every father strives to teach his children good from bad, right from wrong. One young father; in particular, took his job of teaching these habits very seriously. He was aware that his kids were always watching him. Observing everything he did, for better or worse. He knew that setting a good example was probably the best way to show them how to make good decisions. So, this dad went about doing just that. Getting up early, exercising, eating healthy, helping and serving others. He would try to make a point to have his Saturday morning runs wrap up as the kids were finishing breakfast, then they would typically spend the next part of day working in the yard, cleaning around the house or lending a hand to a friend or neighbor.

Well one Saturday this dad had volunteered to help a family from their church move into a new home and he thought it would be great opportunity to teach his 2 young boys about service and helping others. The boys weren’t going to be a lot of help, but they would at least see the example of a bunch of men working together to relocate a family.

Despite fighting off a cold and have some pretty bad congestion, the father still got up and completed his morning run and after breakfast, loaded up the boys on the bench seat of the family station wagon and the 3 of them headed off to the move. Keep in mind this is the 80’s when it was perfectly normal to have kids lined up and buckled in across the front seat of a car. They are headed down the road, Dad is driving, his oldest boy of around 7 or 8 riding shot gun and the youngest son sandwiched between the two. They are cruising along having a good time. The music is playing, there is a wonderful bonding moment and this father is silently thinking to himself, “man I am pretty good at this parenting stuff. It’s really not so tough…. Just show ‘em the way……. Be the example……”

As he is thinking how wonderful he is and what a great job he’s doing. That familiar feeling of flem gathering in the back of the throat gave him pause. He coughed and hacked once or twice, feeling the mucus and funk building, he hocked up a wad of foul slime, quickly rolled down the window and spit it as far away from the car as possible making sure not to get any residual spit on the vehicle or side mirror. Successfully clearing the projectile. The dad rolled up the window (yes, this was back when you actually “rolled” up the window) and continued driving down the road, not thinking much of it…

Well ever the observant oldest child saw this spectacular feat and proceeded to follow suit. Rolling down his passenger side window, he did his best to hock up a meager wad of spit and following the example of his dad, launched His mini logy out into the breeze, narrowly missing his side view mirror.

Now the youngest son sitting in the middle, carefully observing the example of not just his dad but big brother as well, looked over at his dad, then back across to his big brother, and proceeds to do his best to gather his own lil wad of spit and with all the force a 4 year old could muster, hocked his own little deposit squarely and directly into the lap of dear old dad.

Looking back this father will always remember that being an example is a job that never stops. These little people we have been entrusted and blessed with, see and hear EVERYTHING, good, bad or otherwise. Not only do they look like us, but they adopt our mannerism, our dialect, our lingo. Our words, actions, behavior and most importantly our habits, all make a daily impact on these miniature versions of ourselves. Like this father, I hope to be the example that makes a difference to them.

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