I made a mistake. I was a bad example to my son on Saturday. We went shopping at Meijer together. Something he likes to call “boy time.” It’s time together, just he and I and no one else and we do things together–like shopping. It means something to him and it’s a great time to just be together and bond.
And so we were shopping and he started wanting to help. I let him push the cart. He loved it. And then he wanted to start putting items into the cart. So after a few times of him asking, I let him. And then we came to the dairy section where all the cheese is at. A shorter lady asked me “Could you help me reach the shredded cheese up there. I can’t reach it.” So I did. Not even thinking about it.
Then my son said something to me that will resonate for a long time “Dad, you just showed God’s love to her.” It melted my heart. And then he said “That’s why I want to help you, to show God’s love.” Now you might be saying, that’s not a bad example. That’s a great example to be. And then we picked out donuts to eat on the way home.
It gets worse.
As we finished up shopping, I noticed a lane was shorter than all the others. I started walking fastly (is that a word?) to it. I then noticed a lady trying to beat me to the line. I stopped and said “God ahead.” She answered “Are you sure.” And then I misspoke “Not really.” I had frozens that I didn’t want to be defrosted. I wanted to get going home. I was tired and was tired of Meijer. Then I stopped and said “Go ahead of me.” The lady looked at me and then said “it’s okay.” And went to another line.
I felt like a heel.
Worse yet, my son saw me do it. He saw me act that way in front of the lady who could have very easily been a quick one in the line ahead of me. Her basket wasn’t as full as mine. She seemed to be in the same rush I was. Why didn’t I just slow down a minute? Why didn’t I just think for a second? Why didn’t I just let her go ahead of me?
Whoops! Bad example.
I just negated all that I taught me son during our “boy time” together. I just negated all the things he was teaching me during “boy time.” What should I do? Should I explain myself? Should I apologize to my son for being a bad example? I said nothing and let it pass.
Oh, the shame of it to tell the truth. I feel awful about it still. I so want to show my son what it means to be a man of integrity and I failed epically. I so want to show my son what it means to be a godly man and I botched it right there when it mattered most.
My son never said anything. He never mentioned it. It didn’t seem to phase him. Did he truly notice and hear what I said? I pray not.
What does this mean for me? I need to learn from him as much as he needs to learn from me. To be the man I want him to be, I need to listen to him and help him see how he can teach me and how I can teach him. I learned something from an eight year-old on Saturday, to be the love of God to others. And I wasn’t. And I need to be. Like he tries to.
And I need to let him do it as well.
How can you be the love of God to others today? How can you be a person of integrity? How can you show others what it means to be a godly person?