“I’M SO JEALOUS,” a little voice exclaimed from the back seat. I was startled, caught off guard, because jealousy is the opposite of the character traits we are trying to instill in our children! I don’t even remember what she was jealous about, but I do recall being immediately aware of who the guilty party was: ME!
My children (and anyone close to me) know of my deep, constant longing for a little farm in the country where I can have a small menagerie of critters to make me smile every morning.
My girls have endured lengthy rural drives looking for that perfect little farm, with my frequent expressions of envy of those people who have what I want! Repeatedly, I, myself, have proclaimed, “I’M SO JEALOUS!”
So, the outburst from the back seat should not have surprised me. She was just following my example and it was not a good one!
On that occasion, I immediately felt convicted for expressing those wrong feelings of jealousy so often, especially within earshot of the girls! I apologized to my three precious daughters and let them know that it was not okay for Mommy to say that, and that it’s not a phrase we’re going to use in our family. Intently I spoke to them of the importance of being grateful for what we have, and how we should rejoice for others instead of being jealous. “I’m so jealous” is definitely not a phrase that honors the Lord. (And I was definitely “preaching to the choir”!)
Whew! I sure needed to remind myself of that. Honestly, I am jealous!!! There are few things I desire more than a little place in the country. HOWEVER, I need to be content with how the Lord has already greatly blessed me, and I need to focus on being grateful, rather than bemoaning what I don’t have. And, as I practice those things, pass them on to my children. I don’t want them to long for what others have; I want them to recognize how very blessed they are and be so thankful and content.
They are listening…they are SO listening. They are listening when we speak negatively about someone else and when we use a “bad” word. They are listening when we speak critically to them and when we express our political opinions. They are listening…and remembering. Fortunately, they are also listening when we offer encouragement, when we express gratitude, when we quote Bible verses…when we choose to use our mouth and words in a patient, wise and helpful way.
What we say will form them, shape them, and likely, come out of their own mouths one day. So, we’d better be careful!