I found this digging through some old files on my computer. I think I wrote it maybe five years ago, long before I was blogging, as a note to myself. It was an excellent reminder to me this week.
I got an email from a friend and it mentioned not praising what is not praiseworthy. This friend was talking about reading People magazine and how it’s truly hypocritical. I think what she means is she enjoys reading it, but is disgusted with what she’s reading, which is why she enjoys it. J It struck a chord with me and caused me to consider, what do I do with my actions or words that teach my kids to praise what is not praiseworthy?
If the kids see me spending more time on my appearance each morning than I do with the Lord, it teaches my girls that beauty is more valuable than Christ, and my boys that a beautiful woman is more valuable than a spiritually deep one.
If the kids observe that Paul and I would prefer to watch television or read a book *every* evening, and never get to observe us just enjoying each others company and talking together, then we are teaching them that the marital relationship is not a priority and entertainment and knowledge are more valuable than unity and enjoying time with your spouse.
If the kids see me worrying about the way the house looks when people are coming over, or putting off a visit from friends until I can get my house “clean”, I’m teaching them that orderliness and cleanliness are more valuable than people and relationships. Or, it’s teaching them that what people think of my home is more important than spending time with them, and that friends won’t just love you for you, but you must be perfect and have a clean, perfectly kept home in order to maintain good friendships.
If my kids see me being easily angered at home and not joyful in my daily chores or not serving our family happily, but then notice me smiling and being kind and friendly to strangers or acquaintances in public and willingly doing things for others outside the home, it teaches them many things, but here's just a couple. One, that you only serve those whose good opinion you desire, and who can do something for you in return, and two, that insincerity is okay, and possibly better than genuine honesty.
If the kids see me always, or even occasionally discounting what Paul says, not immediately following his suggestions, not paying heed to his advice, just generally not listening to him, it teaches them that he is not worthy of respect and listening to, that what I think is more important and better, and that a wife need not submit to her husband in any way.
These are ways that I think I struggle with praising what is not praiseworthy, and they are not things I want to unconsciously, unintentionally teach my kids. I want to work on letting the Lord be of supreme value in my own heart, and showing that to them with my actions and words, so that their hearts will learn to value HIM above everything else, and secondly, to value what He says is valuable, not what our culture values.