I was blessed to experience a pretty cool moment for another mother this morning at Bible Study Fellowship. I believe this story will encourage any parent, especially parents of little children.
This young mother was walking in the building with two small children. One was in her arms, the other walking beside her, carrying a big stuffed pink pony.
I commented to the little girl, “I love your pony! What is her name?” She looked up at me with her big, bright eyes, and replied, “Pinky!” With a smile, I replied back, “Of course it is! She’s so pretty!”
Then what she said next, in such a precious little voice, seemed to shock her mother. “She came from the mall. And she has a real heart inside of her.”
With a pondering look, the mom asked, “She remembers that? How does she remember that?” I then saw the Build-A-Bear Workshop label on the pony. The mom continued, “She was only one (year old) when we made her (the pony). That was a year ago. I can’t believe she remembers that.” She continued on down the children’s hallway with a smile and disbelief written on her face.
Now, if you’ve never had the experience of making a Build-A-Bear stuffed animal, I encourage you to find a store and make one…no matter how old you are. (www.buildabear.com) It’s a wonderful experience. Our kids each have a couple of them. (Zach is pictured here in 2004 with his lion.) Part of the experience is putting a small red heart, about the size of a quarter, inside the animal you choose before stuffing it.
And this little girl remembered the heart that was placed inside “Pinky” when she was only one year old!
I was reminded right then of a very important truth:
Our children are catching more than we realize.
No matter how old they are, our children are like sponges, soaking everything in that’s around them. Even babies! That’s one reason in BSF, infants are told a Bible story in a sentence, with pictures. Seeds of truth are being planted in their little hearts. I look back to when Alissa and Zach attended BSF with me as toddlers, and am thankful those seeds that were planted then are still in their teenage hearts today.
But no matter what age our kids are, may we be reminded, the job we do with our children is more important than we can ever imagine. Everything we do matters. They are watching us. They are listening to us. They see how we treat our spouses, relatives, neighbors. They see how we respond to and handle life’s situations and circumstances. They see how we live our lives. They hear our prayers. They hear our positive or negative words. They catch more than we can ever comprehend.
Sometime during my last week at the Mission, I clearly remember a conversation I had with Zach. (Keep in mind, he’s 16.) I said, “Buddy, I hope you never have to go through anything like this.” And his reply floored me. “Well, if I ever do, I’ll know how to handle it from watching you.”
Parents, moms, dads, keep up the good work. Keep modeling the right way for your kids, even if they are teenagers or young adults. Even on the hard days. Even when you think nothing you’re doing is making a difference. Even when our children make tough choices. You ARE making a difference.
Galatians 6:9 reads, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)
And also Proverbs 22:6 “Point your kids in the right direction–when they’re old they won’t be lost.” (The Message)
Being a parent is the most important job you and I will ever have. I’m proud to be a parent alongside of you!
And if you’re not a parent, you still probably have younger people somewhere in your life that look up to you. Keep making a positive difference in their lives. One doesn’t have to be a parent to make a lasting impact. 🙂
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