Recently my 9 year old son was in a 1 Mile Fun Run sponsored by the YMCA. He placed 3rd out of 100. He ran really hard and did his absolute best. Jill and I were really proud of him.
After run club at the YMCA, a few days later, I asked him if he ran hard during practice. He said “yes.” I replied, “you know I put up a picture of you running that race on Facebook.” He immediately wanted to see it (above).
When I got to the car I fired up the picture on the Facebook app on my phone. He looked at it for a few seconds then said: “I can’t open the likes.”
He continued, “I’m done with the comments, I wanna see the likes.” I was tempted to respond, “it’s not about the likes”, but I stopped myself when I thought ‘wait a minute, it is about the likes.’ He’s no different than me (or you too, perhaps).
I know in my head that it isn’t about the likes, but for me, in my heart, it still is.
I was stuck. I knew the right answer, but I hesitated to share it because its truth hadn’t taken root fully in my life.
St John Paul II once said:
“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
It’s not just right information that is most helpful, but truth melded with real life that communicates so powerfully. I stopped myself before I said “it’s not about the likes”, because had he asked I wouldn’t have had any real example to back it up, no story from my life to bring the ideas from the sky to the ground.
It would’ve been just talk. True talk, but not truth that had found its way into my everyday behavior. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think a father should stray away from telling the truth to their kids, but I was convicted that this was something that was still out of order in me and honestly I didn’t know what I was gonna say next.
Jesus might say to my son Christian “do as your Dad says, not as he does”, but that’s for Jesus to say about me, not for me to say about myself.
I’m still working on my words and actions matching up. You?