I will never forget sitting at a Dolphin’s game with my son when he asked me a great question. While we were sitting there we looked several rows in front of us and noticed a group of men that I knew. I pointed them out to my son and he noticed that they were passing a pair of binoculars up and down the row. Then he looked at me and asked, “Hey Dad, why don’t we bring our binoculars to the game?” This was one of those father/son teachable moments. I turned to my son and said, “Tell me what you think they’re looking at?” The timing was perfect. The game was going on at one end of the field, but the men were pointing the binoculars in another direction. As they passed them back and forth they were all looking at the same target. Surprised, my son looked at me and said, “They’re looking at the cheerleaders, aren’t they?”
As disappointed as he was in those men, it was too big of an opportunity not to teach. He knew that they were all married and that they attended church; in fact, he knew some of their sons. During the drive home I explained to him that we don’t bring the binoculars to the game because we don’t want to do anything that would bring embarrassment to God and insult mom. We don’t want to focus on the cheerleaders and we do not want anyone seeing us using binoculars and thinking that they were our main focus. My son wanted to know why those men were doing what they were doing. I told him that it was one of those things that men do without thinking. They don’t think, so they don’t discipline their eyes. When they don’t discipline their eyes, they don’t discipline their thoughts. “It’s like we talked about when it comes to you going to school parties, Robey. Some people do what everyone else does. They conform without thinking. Those men are good men; they don’t really think that they are doing anything wrong,” I shared. I told him that I think some people just don’t think through what they do; everyone else does it, so why not them. As we continued driving and talking I told him that, in this particular case, Jesus even talked about it in His Sermon on the Mount. He said, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” (Matthew 5:27-28). Just because everyone else does it doesn’t make it acceptable. In fact, knowing that everyone else does something just might make it questionable. It was one of those great teachable moments where we were driving and I could remind him of Romans 12, which tells us that we shouldn’t conform to the culture of this world … to what everyone else does. This isn’t an issue where we judge those men; this is an opportunity where we learn from them.
This month we will be celebrating Father’s Day. What if, instead of receiving gifts from our children, each dad decided to give a gift to their children? What if each dad decided from this point on he would choose to be a good example of what it means to be a Christ follower? Due to today’s cyber-world our children have become visual learners. They no longer learn by listening to what we say; they learn by watching what we do. The greatest gift we can give the next generation is the gift of choosing to be a well thought-out, well disciplined example. Teach with words when you can, but choose to train them with your lifestyle. Your example is more important than what you say. My son heard what I said during that drive back from the game. But hearing me wasn’t enough. You can bet from that point on he watched what I looked at. A dad’s example and lifestyle plays a huge part in molding a son’s future. This Father’s Day give your kids the gift of a good example.
Dr. Bob Barnes is the president of Sheridan House Family Ministries. He and his wife, Rosemary, are authors and speakers on marriage and family issues. To learn more about Pastor Bob Barnes, go to www.sheridanhouse.org