A few years ago (more than I would like to admit), I was the recipient of a bright pink bathrobe with white polka dots. It was fun and festive, but more importantly, it was thick and snuggly. It was so comfy that as soon as I could get home, I was so happy to put on my robe. The robe has now seen its best days and it is time for it to move on. I have known that for months, but somehow the aging piece still has not been removed from circulation.
I really was not in the biggest hurry… until the other day. In the hustle and bustle of a weeknight, I had run home and started cooking dinner. It was a little chilly in the house, so I went and grabbed my robe and threw it on top of me to add another layer of warmth, as I had so many times before. In the midst of sautéing mushrooms and making salads, I called to the other three Conlees to come sit down for dinner. As Chris grabbed dinner off of the grill and I scrambled to find a few last things, I was remotely aware that the kids had moved to the table as directed. Right there was victory! How many times do I call out and get no response? Not this time. But as I turned the corner from the kitchen into the dining room, I almost gasped from what I saw.
Standing wrapped in my snuggly, hot pink robe, I was staring at two kids… in their robes! I laughed. I am pretty sure we were the only family in Memphis eating dinner in our robes. It occurred to me that they had just picked that up watching their mom always donning her extra layer of skin. Chris was the only one among us looking normal.
Now there is the whole aspect of looking nice for your husband that I obviously need to prioritize… maybe another blog for another day. But it was such a visual reminder that we are communicating to our children whether we intend to or not! Snuggly bathrobes probably won’t stunt my children, but what about the words I speak, or the tone I have? Do your children hear you speak well of your spouse to others? Do they hear you speak kindly TO your spouse? Do your children and others in your sphere of influence watch you express generosity or greediness? Do they see you take short cuts or make excuses?
People can learn a lot from observing us. Our children take it a step further. They not only learn about us, but they learn to imitate us. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” We can never get too far from this challenge.
We must ask, “Who am I imitating?” Do you spend more time imitating what the world values or imitating Christ? What in your life would not be beneficial for your children, friends, or colleagues to imitate? We only have one life to model… make it count… with or without the robe.