I love my wife and I’m proud of her for many reasons, but one reason in particular is for how she leads by example. With three kids who are always watching what we do, and looking to see if it matches up with what we say, this is a priceless characteristic. And it doesn’t have to be about something big to make an impact. Two examples jump to mind.
We bought a decorative mirror for my daughter’s room from a store that is a good distance from our house. It wasn’t an expensive mirror, probably less than $30, but when we got home and opened the box we found that there were actually two boxes inside that box, each with a mirror. The easy thing to do would have been to say, cool we got one free, or it’s too far to drive to take it back, or it’s only $30 and they won’t miss it. Instead Lisa said, we didn’t pay for the second mirror, so it is not ours to keep and it is going back, otherwise it’s the same as stealing. So we did, and our kids saw it, and the salesperson at the store couldn’t believe that we would drive all that way to return something that nobody even knew we had.
The latest of many similar episodes just happened a few days ago. The orthodontist my daughter goes to gives “tokens” to kids at each visit that they can save and exchange later for “prizes.” Hannah decided to cash in some tokens for 2 movie tickets so we could go see “How To Train Your Dragon.” The tickets were supposed to come to us in the mail but after waiting for days for them to arrive Lisa called the dentist to say they didn’t come. The dentist told her she could come by and pick up another pair, so she did. When she got back home the mail had come and the original tickets had finally arrived. So now we had four tickets and the kids thought that was great, but Lisa again said, no we only earned two and the other two are going back. Again the receptionist at the dentist’s office couldn’t quite grasp why anyone who had four tickets in hand that no one would miss, would bring two of them back.
Now before you go thinking that I married an angel, let me just confirm for you that I did. She’s not perfect–nobody is, but she’s the best thing that happened to me, and I’m proud of her for the example she sets for me and for our kids. Your kids are watching you for consistency between your talk and your walk, and even if your kids are gone and you think nobody is watching or nobody will know…you will know, and God will know too. Lisa, thanks for being a great mom and a great example for me to live up to as well.
“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.”
-H. Jackson Browne
What do you want people to see you doing when you think nobody is watching?