“Look Mom! Damn deer!” It was Christmas Day and I about swallowed my tongue when Brewer screamed with excitement as he said those words from his car seat in the back of our black mini-van while we were on our way to DeBordieu to see Bill’s parents. The alarming thing was that he was only 4! Bill and I were shocked to hear the word, “damn,” come out of his mouth. Yep, he was innocent. We were not!! It was an “in your face” moment for us as parents, a real lesson in the fact that children are sponges. They take in everything they hear and see, good or bad. Needless to say, we have had many more of those moments in our lives. The good news is some of those moments have been joyful but some have not. The lesson here for anyone is—our actions and words are duplicated by others. We need to examine them and evaluate often, and maybe even make a “course correction.” A quote I love is, “Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate.”–unknown
I love the fact that God never wants you to stay where you are. He always wants you to GROW, MATURE, AND BE WISER. He will go to great extremes or allow circumstances in our lives that draw us into “positive change” for our GREATER GOOD and that of others. Sometimes it only takes the obvious, like your 4 year old saying, “damn,” innocently, to alert Mom and Dad that they need to “wise up and make a change”. Sometimes it is not easily seen or quite so obvious. Many times we have no clue that other people see something in us that is so obvious to them but we are completely blind to it.
When the boys were little, we always played a game of hide and seek with them just before bedtime. Brewer and Thomas were 4 and 2 at the time. After their bath, we would allow them to run upstairs and hide. We would count to 10 really loud and then come and find them. It was so funny to pretend we didn’t know where they were, especially when Thomas sat in a corner in plain view with his eyes closed. He thought that because he couldn’t see us, we couldn’t see him (he was only 2). It is one of my fondest memories of him when he was little. The next night, he laid on his bed and did the same thing. He just closed his eyes and thought we didn’t see him lying there. The point here is perspective. He truly didn’t think we could see him, and he was in plain sight. He was innocent. Cute and funny story, but stop and think for a minute. Applying this concept to ourselves and perspective, have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What do others see in me that is in plain sight that I may be blind to? I have come to realize that sometimes we just can’t see what needs to be changed. It is such a part of us and a habit. We have to see it in someone else to realize how it looks. Maybe even open ourselves up for someone to help us see what we can’t see ourselves.
The book of Proverbs has been one of my favorite books of the Bible. I have learned to go all over the Bible to grasp the “whole” of Scripture. To understand the mind and character of God and how he wants me to live. The first several chapters of Proverbs teach about seeking wisdom. Proverbs 4:5-8 says, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have get understanding. Esteem her and she will exalt you; embrace her and she will honor you.” Proverbs also clearly points out what foolishness looks like and how it puts a person on the road to disaster. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” And Proverbs 10:21 says, “The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.”
It was from this study that I concluded it was time to invite a few people, who I felt were wise and sought to live a righteous life, to help me take a look to see what I wasn’t seeing or wasn’t able to see. This has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made heading into the “Back 9” of life. Just wish I had done it sooner. One of the most valuable things that was pointed out to me was to work on being a “better listener!” That was all that was said to me. It was gently put but followed by such kind words like, “We all need to be better listeners and I am working on this myself!” Wow, initially Satan wanted me to get my feelings hurt, but I resisted the urge and started to immediately look at this area of my life. One tool I implemented immediately was to write things down so that I would listen better and remember. That little piece of advice and wisdom alone has been so helpful to me personally. God has multiplied and blessed my efforts. It has strengthened my relationships and alleviated frustration. I realized being a better listener meant I was valuing people more and not being so self-centered. I am so thankful to be working on this area.
My point here is this—I have a ton to get better at, but like my dear friend said, “We all do!” I encourage you to step back, invite someone you trust who has your best interest at heart, and ask them to point out one thing that maybe they see that you don’t. Something that would make you a better person. Reminding you that you need to pray and have the right heart before you do it! And remember the quotes, “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that is your own self.” And “Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”