Each person has their own challenges in life.
For some, it may be health issues. For others, it may be finances. For me, it's traffic.
I will never understand why people drive 30 in a 45 mph zone. When they look in their rearview mirror and see the 28 cars trailing behind them, shouldn't that be an indication that they should either speed up or get off the road? I certainly think so.
One evening we were driving along when we came upon two cars. The first one was driving about as fast as a three-legged turtle with a pulled hamstring. The car behind it (and directly in front of me) had several opportunities to pass, but never did. This meant that if I wanted to get where I was going I was going to have to pass them both, which is both dangerous and illegal.
So there I sat, fuming. As more and more precious minutes ticked by, I got more and more agitated. "Come on, come on!" I said through clenched teeth.
Suddenly, from the back seat I heard a sweet, angelic voice say, "No, Daddy." I looked in the rearview mirror. Chloe was gazing at me, a troubled expression on her face.
I sighed and slumped my shoulders. Chloe may not know why I was so frustrated (I'm sure she would have understood had she known), but that made no difference at all. Instead of seeing me speak through clenched teeth, she needed to see me exercising patience and control. After all, children learn from what they see. What was I teaching her in that moment? Nothing good, I can assure you.
Our children hear our words and see our actions. They're taking it all in, and one day it's going to find its way back out. What kind of example are we setting for them?
As James 1:20 says, "Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." That's true for me, as well as for Chloe. My anger doesn't just affect me, it affects her. My expressions of anger and frustration teach her to express herself in similar ways.
So what kind of example should we be setting for our children? In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul mentions nine traits Christians ought to display in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If I want Chloe to exhibit these behaviors when she gets older (and I do!), then I'd better be modeling them for her to see right now.
By the way, both cars turned off the road about a half mile later, and we were able to get where we were going on time.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column runs every other week in Sunday Life.