A Child is Watching You!

One of “my kids,” who grew up in musical theatre as a small child, made a point to say good-bye to me the weekend he left for college. I was leaving church, out the side door to make a quick getaway, and he surprised me with a big hug as I came around the corner.

“I knew I’d see you if I came to this side door, he smiled, “You always went out this way when you were in a rush to leave church.”

“Seriously? You knew that about me?”

“Yes,” he said, almost blushing as he stood over 6 feet tall now. “Miss Kathleen, you were my favorite teacher.  I watched every move you made for most the years I was growing up in this church.”

Hoping he had no stalker tendencies, I questioned, “Can I ask you why?”

“Sure, because you were one of the people who I knew loved me; and, I watched everything you did.”

Whoa. I never knew that.

The rest of that afternoon I walked around the house, doing my Sunday afternoon routine stuff, wondering what ELSE he might have seen me do.

Adults, whoever you are – parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches or neighbors – statistics’ agree, you are being watched by a child in your life.

One of my favorite people growing up was our next door neighbor, Mrs. Farley. I am positive she never had any idea I watched her whenever I was outside the house. She unknowingly gave me personal attention. Not a lot – just occasional eye contact – and mentioned if she thought my hair looked pretty, or a blouse I was wearing made my eyes look big and bright.

I wanted to please her; because, she cared about me. She never yelled at her kids, getting them in the car leaving for church on Sunday mornings. (That certainly wasn’t the case at our house.) She made cookies for my brother, sister and me. She was nice to me and, therefore, someone important to me.

She was one of the positive adults in my life who made me want to grow up and be nice.

I am certain she never knew it.

What adult left a lasting impression on you as a child?

Coaches, in sports activities, are such powerful inspiration in a child’s life. They have a couple hours each week, in some situations, to alter the course of a child’s future – positively or negatively!

There were several adults at church who had the same impact on my life. They became important as soon as they gave me the time of day. Because of how they treated me, I knew which ones really loved God.

Of course, it is common knowledge: parents have enormous influence on their kids – surprisingly, more so than most children realize at the time.

U.S. President William McKinley grew up in a devout Methodist home and was close to both his parents. His mother’s faith was like “an umbrella over his entire life” and, her humble service for the Lord became a model he followed in public life.

President McKinley’s biographer wrote, “Nancy had charge of the Niles Methodist Church, keeping it clean and well maintained as if it were her home. A neighbor remembered she ran the entire church, all but the preaching. Mother McKinley (as she became known) tended to ailing friends and boarded traveling ministers and teachers in the family’s home. She also served as the small town’s peacemaker, resolving quarrels and neighborhood disputes. She loved God.”

Sitting at her feet, watching it all, was a future President of the United States.

Read that again.

Sitting at her feet, watching it all, was a future President of the United States.

Wow. I wonder if he would ever have become president, had she been different.

I am now a Mimi (Grandma). It has become increasingly clear the importance and influence my words have on our 10 grandchildren. Now, I KNOW every word I speak, every attitude and facial expression is being watched.

I don’t remember where I heard the quote, “Live your life as if someone else’s eternity depends on it.”

This is TRUE when it comes to the children in your life.

Billy Graham once told a San Diego audience his mother was a farm woman. “She and my father didn’t have much education … But I remember my mother was a woman of God.

She always had devotions with us, she always prayed with us, she loved us, and did so many things, to go out of her way for us. And when I was in Bible school, she and my father, would go to a room upstairs in the house and kneel down every morning at 10 o’clock to pray for their son in Bible school.”

Billy Graham’s mom impacted the whole world.

Look around. There are kids in your life who watch your actions and reactions when you least expect it. There is a child, today, who needs a smile or encouraging word from you.

You have the ability to make a child’s day or, perhaps, a child’s life. Taking it even further, we never know how our influence for Christ might change the world… through the life of a child.

The Message tells us:

“Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.” Deut. 4:9

“God-loyal people, living honest lives, make it much easier for their children.” Proverbs 20:7

 

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  • Patti Radeleff

    As usual, such an important message, Kathleen! This is something for me to remember today as I prepare for a day with my grandchildren. I know they share with their parents what we talk about, sometimes with a hilarious interpretation! But more importantly, we grandparents instill what they are learning from their parents about God’s love for them. Such precious little people, and what great responsibility we have.

    • thekathleenchapman

      Truer words never spoken!