Several years back a woman I know put her son down for a nap and had to deal with him fussing and fighting against her. She finally got him calmed down enough to leave him in the bed to rest... or so she thought.
She had been doing laundry and went back to folding the clean sheets she had pulled out of the dryer. A few minutes later, while taking the sheets to the linen closet, she passed by her son’s bedroom door and heard his little voice.
"D#%$ it!” he said punching his mattress with a balled up fist and an angry look on his face. “D#%$ it," he said again punching the mattress.
Her heart dropped. She knew where he learned that.
On one hand, she was glad he only used that tiny four-letter word instead of one of the many others he had heard come out of her mouth.
On the other hand, she was mortified. She knew the words and the actions he was displaying came from what he had heard and seen from her.
The lesson drove home like an arrow straight to her heart. She realized no matter how small children are, they watch and listen to everything we say and do.
Ashamed of the example she was, she humbly went to him and told him not to say that word or punch the mattress. She told him she was sorry he had learned that from her and told him she would make a change and do better in her actions for him. She made a commitment to herself and her son that day.
She will be the first tell you, be careful what you say or do when it comes to the young people in your life. She will also tell you of the redeeming grace of God; how it has helped her improve each day in the example she leads for her children and other young people in her life.
Her son is now eighteen years old. He controls his temper well and does not use foul language. He and I had a discussion once about the use of foul language. I told him I was proud of him for not talking like that. He told me he can get his point across just as easily and more to the point by keeping his language clean than otherwise. He also said that his friends try not to use those types of words when they are around him. He may not realize it but he is being an example for his friends.
Imagine what he would be like, if his mother had not learned that lesson he taught her sixteen years ago. What if she had not made the choice to change the example she was? He would be just like she was, foul mouthed and acting out in anger.
What kind of example are you setting for the young people in your life?