Years ago my two preschoolers and I were the first ones out after a winter storm. Not even the snowplow had been by yet as we blazed our own trail across the pristine canvas of white. I went first and, upon hearing squeals and giggling behind me, turned to see my small son and daughter leaping from one of my large footprints to the next so that the snow wouldn't come up over their boots. I can still picture their rosy cheeks and blasts of frosty breath from a mouthful of baby teeth. The symbolism of that moment was not lost on me and is forever etched into my memory.
These two children are now grown but my days are still full of young people who look at me with sparkling eyes, brimming with hope and innocence. This past week I helped out at our school as they prepared for the annual Christmas musical and was struck anew by the power vested in me as a leader. I was assigned the job of teaching actions to go along with the music. There was a lot of finger snapping, hand waving, swaying from side to side combined with the humor of dyslexic me trying to do everything backwards for the kids to copy. At one point, I scratched my head (because it itched), and a dozen kids scratched their heads, too. I joked with the teacher who was sitting next to me, "Wow! This is POWER!"
Last night was the final performance and all the kids grades 1-6 sang an unrehearsed song for the offertory. The song was familiar to the older kids but somewhat new for the little ones--especially since it broke into parts where the boys and girls were singing different things at the same time. I realized that I didn't know the words all that well myself and was disconcerted to look up and see 40 pound bespectacled Katie in her red plaid Christmas dress staring right at my face from the front row, ready to sing whatever it was that I was singing. I quickly kicked my brain into gear and found the words I was looking for and the towheaded first grader heartily sang along with me. I didn't feel so much like laughing then.
How sobering to realize that everything we do, everything we say is being watched. Not by security cameras and the internet--those are insignificant compared to this. And though it's popular to worry about our carbon footprint, what about the ones that last forever? The way I treat others and the words that come out of my mouth matter. Little eyes scrutinize my every move and take big jumps to land in the footprints I am leaving.
Lord, help me today to walk your straight path and let the words of my mouth bring glory to you and encourage others.
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17