“Your walk talks, and your talk talks … but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.”
“What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Several years ago (OK, many years ago) when my son was in late elementary/early junior high, I was talking with a friend of mine at church when my son was trying to get my attention. I was ignoring him, continuing what was surely a life-changing conversation with my friend. Eventually, however, he got my attention, and I responded with exasperation, “Matthew, be patient!” My friend just smiled, turned to my son and said, “Yeah, Matthew … just like your dad.”
I was reminded of this exchange recently when I read an article addressing how parents should teach their children to make good decisions. The author suggested that these are really life-long “conversations” we are having with our children, prefaced with the words, “Watch how I <fill in the blank>.”
Our campus pastor told us he sat his tween son down to explain the birds and the bees but prefaced it with this, “We are going to begin a conversation that we will be having the rest of your life. This is not a one-time conversation. This is the start of many conversations.” Whew!
Are you able to say, “Watch how I have a healthy marriage. Watch how I keep my eyes from lust. Watch how I honor my spouse. Watch how I protect my marriage”?
What about technology? Can you say, “Watch how I unplug regularly. Watch how I rule technology and don’t let it rule me. Watch how small it is in my life”?
What areas of your life can you say “Watch how I do this”? Which ones do you not want your kids to see? Gossip? Fear? Focus on outward appearance? Work ethic?
It reminds me of what the apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). It’s not about being fake-perfect or play-acting what should be done. It’s not about being a Pharisee and making up your own standards and rules.
Can I really make Paul’s same statement? I have to follow Christ. Not put on a show for my kids. Follow Christ. Then, I can glance back and say, “Come on! Jump in! I’m a few steps, a few years, ahead in my walk with Jesus. Follow me as I keep my eyes on Him! Watch me!”
At HCA we talk a lot about the partnership we have with parents in the process of bringing up our children “in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.” As I reflect on that, I am struck anew with the importance of living our lives in such as way that we can humbly say, “Watch how I <fill in the blank>.”
“Yeah, Matthew … Just like your dad!”