Recently some family members from out of town came for a visit. There are many wonderful places to visit in Charlotte and this time around we picked the Billy Graham Library, which should more aptly be named the Billy Graham Modern History Museum. This is a wonderful place for young minds to learn not only about Billy Graham himself, but about the far reaching effects caring for and, having compassion for others can extend. I would have never guessed the questions that were to come out of our toddlers mouth who expressed genuine interest in historical cultural events he will not learn about for years. In the gift shop on the way out we decided to pick up a new bedtime book entitled, “What Will Heaven Be Like?” As I was getting ready for bed last night I overheard my wife reading our toddler the book. He was so full of questions! Why is Billy Graham old? Did he die? And the inevitable combination of – will I die? And, what will happen when I die? For a moment as I listened in on the conversation I was happy I had not read him the book, but then I was struck with the realization that along with discipline, structure and routine, kids need to know what we as parents believe. This goes beyond religious implications, do we believe in fairness, truth telling, right from wrong. Do we show our children what we believe and not just tell them about these ideals? For the story last night, my wife did a masterful job of connecting our time at Elevation Church in Charlotte, to why we pray before we eat, why we thank God for the things we have and, taking him through the circle and passage of life. What do you believe?
Several months back I was going through a State certification process that required fingerprinting, Federal and State background checks, criminal, civil, and interviews with associates. It was a profoundly detailed process and it struck me that while some background checks are highly intensive and detailed, becoming a parent requires no skill set verification at all. You just become a parent and the children’s hide and go seek response of “ready or not, here I come” rings in your ears. But I challenge you, when you are a parent you need to take yourself through an evaluation. Among the many questions you need to ask yourself, make sure you do not overlook the very important question your children will one day ask you, what do you believe? Make no mistake that by how you have lived your life to the point they ask the question they will know the answer but, how you navigate that question to a young impressionable mind will have a lasting impact. Perhaps that is the time, or now before they ask, to change some wayward parenting behaviors. I’ve always loved the saying, “it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.” Live a good life for your children’s sake, set good examples, they are watching everything you do, say and how you treat others will be the very base model of how they think they can treat others themselves. What do you believe? Asked more poignantly, if I were to ask your child, what would they tell me you believe?