People like to have accurate road maps, mapping software or map apps on their smart phones. Most everyone has encountered the difficulty of being out on the road and attempting to follow the verbal directions of a local person. It is much easier to have a map application before me that I can see rather than trying in vain to remember confusing directions that someone spoke (“...go to the old Evans house on the left and turn on Smith Rd. where there is no street sign. Next, turn right at the corner where Jimmy Jo had his car wreck last year...”). God has created us as visual people, so we like to be able to see where we are going. Our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and kids in our church are no different.
Did you know that parents, grandparents and adults are visual road maps for our children? We draw an intricate and detailed map of life for our children who follow. This map is not the audio version, so the things we say do not hold a lot of weight. This map is not a mental map, so what we think in our minds is not extremely powerful for them. The map we draw for our children is a visual map. It is a map they can see and follow. The life of a parent becomes a visual road map for the life a child is to lead.
If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or have any children around your life at all (especially including those in your church), ask yourself the following question, "If the children around me follow the road map my life is drawing, what will his or her life look like?"
In a story by writer JoEllen Johnson, she tells about her friend named Davida Dalton,
"It was a busy day in our Costa Mesa, California, home. But then, with 10 children and one on the way, every day was a bit hectic. On this particular day I was having trouble doing daily chores - all because of one little boy.
"Len, who was three at the time, was on my heels no matter where I went. Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back around, I would trip over him. Several times, I patiently suggested fun activities to keep him occupied. 'Wouldn't you like to play on the swing set?' I asked again.
"But he simply smiled an innocent smile and said, 'Oh, that's all right, Mommy. I'd rather be in here with you.' Then he continued to
bounce happily along behind me.
"After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, I began to lose my patience and insisted that he go outside and play with the other children. When I asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up at me with sweet green eyes and said, 'Well, Mommy, in Sunday school my teacher told me to walk in Jesus' footsteps. But I can't see him, so I'm walking in yours.'"
In Matthew 5:14-15 Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
These are the words of Christ Himself. His point is that those who have the light of Christ in their lives do not live in a vacuum where no light can escape. If a person has confessed his sin, repented towards Christ and been forgiven, he or she now has the light of Christ in their lives. The purpose of this light is not for self illumination, but it is for lighting the path for oneself and all those around him. This includes children and grandchildren.
Parents, grandparents and future parents should ask yourselves that question one more time. "If my children, grandchildren, or future children, follow the directional course my life sets, what will their lives look like?"
Someone once said, “What you do is so loud I cannot hear what you say.” If you are a parent or grandparent, what you say is not as important as what you live before those who follow. The lives we live before our children and grandchildren lay out maps for their lives.