A week or so ago (as I am writing this), I was driving in the car with my sons- the eldest is ten, the youngest is a mere toddler. I was exhausted from a preceding difficult week and a lack of sleep (thanks to back discomfort- old injuries reminding themselves that they are still with me). Needless to say, I was a little more on the grumpier side than usual, and was quicker to impatience with a few instances of careless drivers. Instead of using the opportunity to exercise charity and reserve, I was annoyed and grumbly to put it mildly. While I wasn’t screaming and flipping anyone off, I mumbled less-than-charitable thoughts to myself in the circumstances that arose -or so I thought (to myself), anyway.
A few days passed, and in talking with my wife, she made mention of my mumblings. As it turned out, the utterances that I thought were between “me, myself, and I” were in truth overheard by my eldest (who, after all was sitting right next to me), and he had spoken of it to her in the course of passing conversation. I was embarrassed- she and I had a brief discussion about it, which closed with her words that I used in the title of this post: “(don’t forget), your sons are watching you”.
We are all human, we are all fallen by nature, and no matter how straight the course for which we strike, we are going to veer, stumble, or fall down a time or many. None of us are perfect, nor will we ever be in this waking world. On that same note, we can never be Christ, but should always strive to be Christ-like. It doesn’t matter how often we veer, stumble, or mess up. What matters is that we keep trying, that we keep moving forward.
Your sons are watching you.
So too, are your daughters. Your children are watching and learning from your example. While we may have our less-than-spectacular moments in life, we should always try to keep that fact in mind, to let it be among our guiding thoughts. We need to be as best an example of what it means to be a Catholic man / father / husband as we are able to be. There is plenty out there to tempt our children away from their Catholic foundation, to set lower bars of expectation, and to form the groundworks of base behaviors and behavior patterns. We need to be the light in the darkness, to be a shining -Catholic- example to which our children can aspire. Can we expect a sense of charity and caring for our fellow man (friend and foe alike) to awaken and live within them if it’s not what we ourselves are demonstrating in their company? Can we really expect them to put any stock in even being a Catholic (over the long haul of years) if we aren’t living out the joy of our faith and resting in its strength? Talk is cheap. The proof is in the deed, in how we actually conduct our lives. We must always do our best to be the Catholic role model(s) on which the standards of our children are founded. We need to be a “constant” and actively lead our children to Christ in living example, through not only our actions but also in the manner of our expression(s). We can’t expect them to cleave to that which we seemingly do not adhere ourselves. Always remember: your sons (and daughters!) are watching you.