Setting an example is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Random things keep happening that bring me back to these thoughts. The thing is... we are ALWAYS being an example. Whether we are a good or bad example is up to us.
Example: a pattern or model, as of something to be imitated or avoided.
The other weekend I went to the Tim Hawkins concert at my church. Mike and I went in, put our coats down to hold our seats and then went back to the lobby to help out with collecting tickets and other things that needed done. About ten minutes later I just went to check that no one had moved our stuff (lots of people were throwing coats down and heading back out to the lobby). When I got to our seats I saw that someone had moved our coats to one chair and took the other seat. It was a man with a bunch of kids. I simply said "My husband and I were actually sitting here. We just stepped out to help for a little while." And the man just stared at me like I was stupid. And the kids were watching. Finally the man just says "well there are other seats over there."
I was kind of surprised. All those kids watching... he was setting an example... an example that it was ok to just do as you pleased, regardless of others and offer no apology. But I was setting an example too. They were also watching me to see how I would handle the situation. I simply took my coats and went to find other seats. There was nothing else to do other than cause a scene... and I wasn't about to do that over seats.
We were being watched. Setting an example.
Another thing that happened recently... I was out to eat with some friends. I ordered french onion soup and a chicken salad. When I got my check at the end I noticed that the number seemed low and after checking the details I realized I was not charged for the soup. I could have easily walked out and not paid for the soup. No one needed to know. But you know what... I do pep talks with my kids which include yelling and pumping our fists in the air as we are on our way to places. They usually go something like this...
"I do what's right! All the time! I do what's right! Even when no one else does! I do what's right! Even when it's hard! I do what's right!!"
I do what's right. It's how I teach my kids to live and I should have the same standards for myself.
I am being watched. I am setting an example.
I know we all mess up from time to time though. In those moments we can choose to let our example remain a bad example or we can continue on to right the wrong, apologize, set things right. By doing that we become a good example of how to walk through life in a Christian way. Not perfect... because we will never attain perfection... but in a way that we wouldn't mind others copying.
What kind of example are you setting today?