Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Show me that I might see

So I am sitting in church today and one of the speakers, a young man who is married with two young children mentions about how important example is in our lives and particularly as we teach our children.  He brings up that he is sorry that he did not serve a mission for the Lord when he was a young man.  He wonders how his lack of a good example in that area will impact his son when he is grown old enough to serve a mission for the Savior.  He is sorry for his poor example in that regard and is scared that his poor example, even before his son was ever born, will impact the future.  I couldn't help but think of what examples I set for my children and others that I care about and those that look to me, before they were born or before we even knew each other. 

That got me to thinking about the power of example.  I look back at my parents and how they were excellent examples in some things, mediocre in others and poor in some.  How did that impact me?  I do tend to follow their example in all those areas for the most part.  I mean I don't like gardening--my dad was a lover of gardening, I do not tend to complain about aches and pains just like my Mom.  There may be an argument that some things are genetic and not based upon an environmental example, but for the most part I am not talking about some of those things that easily fall into that category (i.e. the shape of my body, lack of hair, etc. etc.). Some things I have worked hard to change to be what I consider better than the example that was set for me.  Maybe the key there is that I had to recognize and conclude that I wanted to be different and put in some sustained effort to get that way.  But ultimately I am much like my parents--maybe an odd combination of the two but nevertheless I think that I would be recognized as their child by those who know them well.

Those examples in our life, particular the examples from when we are young seem to be our default (speaking computereze a language I have limited ability in).  Why is example such a powerful influence?  I have been thinking about that today.  Unfortunately I have not come to any conclusions.  Everything I think of, examples from my parents and examples as a parent as well as examples professionally and examples in my ministry at church all point to the truth that I'll state again--example is a profound powerful influence on others for good or ill.

Still my thoughts are very much frequently turned to my father-in-law in the ICU and expecting to be there for a few weeks.  He has been an excellent example to me in a variety of ways but one way that I have contemplated the most over the last few years.  While I was recently released from serving as a Bishop I often went back and contemplated the example he set for me when I was a young man and he was serving as Bishop in his ward.  During the time I stayed in MN while Lisa and I were engaged and for the first few years of our marriage he served as Bishop.  I saw him closely in his home as he would be doing something as a father or husband and then a call would come requiring he do the work of a Bishop.  No complaints, no apologies, but he would just get dressed appropriately for the occasion and then he would go do what was required and then return home, change back into the appropriate home wear and continue on.  That turned out to be an excellent and much needed example for me as I had many occasions when I was needed as the Bishop and I did as I had seen him do.

Example most often overcomes what we have been taught in other ways.  Regardless of the truth of what we have been taught or the respect we have for the teacher, that default kicks in unless we put in some great and often strenuous and lengthy effort to change and be different.

So maybe all of this just comes to prove the point that is made by Christ in the following scripture:  John 13:15 "for I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you".  We not only needed his sacrifice and atonement to overcome death and our sinful nature, but we also needed his example of what to do and how to do it right so we could follow. 

Maybe we can recognize the importance of our example soon enough that we can adjust our example to express what is really most important to us so that others can see us for who we are rather than who we allow the world to turn us into.  I hope I can be the best of those that have been profound examples for me and that my example for my children and others can lead them to truth and light rather than...the opposite.

1 comment:

  1. you've been a great example to me dad :) and i know you are already an example to mike in some ways as well. thanks for being a good one :) i love you!


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