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Much room for improvement....

James Dobson has been one of the foremost authorities on child-rearing in Christina circles for years. He reminds us, "Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built." Each child has the potential to absorb much of what they see and hear - making them similar to sponges just hungry to soak up all that they come in contact with. This might just prove to be the most important reason for us to guard what it is they come into contact with as they are growing up!

Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father, and do not forsake the teaching from your mother. 
For they will be like an elegant garland on your head, and like pendants around your neck. (Proverbs 1:7-9 NET)

Solomon also reminds us to train a child in the way he or she should go - with the aim of not departing from that which one has absorbed through those years of "growing up". Notice that Solomon does not use the words, "the way he will go", but rather the way he "should go". The best we can do in life is be a positive example for those who are looking to us as the examples they will somehow mold their lives toward. This may seem a little daunting to us at first, considering just how many people that may be over the course of our lives, not just exclusive to our children we birthed into our homes. Our examples are absorbed by a great many "sponges" in our lifetime!

While Solomon may have had his eye on the training up of his own children, he was also the leader of a great nation - king anointed by God to lead the nation of Israel. As such, didn't he present a continual example that others would potentially pattern their actions after? You bet he did! Just like you and I do in whatever circle we find ourselves in today. There are those looking to grow in Christ - observing our examples and seeing how we "do it". There are also those just absorbing our example, not really sure what it is that is "different" about us, but they know they are attracted to something they see in our example. As "influencers" we have a pretty big "role" in determining how another may actually form their beliefs, opinions, and attitudes toward the important matters in life.

Maybe this frightens us a bit - knowing that there are "sponges" just waiting to soak up bits and pieces of our actions and attitudes. It should! If we are true to our convictions, even when we don't quite adhere to them as closely as we might have wanted to, making course corrections as necessary, those examples will be seen. I think it is equally important for those who are following our examples to see not only the "perfect" parts of our walk, but the times we need to make course corrections to get back on course again! This means we are "real" - we aren't trying to just show one side of who we are - for the other side is really the side that shows how equally "disjointed" our lives are. It isn't the "perfect example" that we need to set, but the example that leans heavily upon grace to get us through and the one that is willing to admit there is still much room for improvement! Just sayin!

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