Yesterday was a Saturday like any other around our house. We did some housework, played, and all the other stuff we usually do with one exception. We had an electronics free day. No TV. No video games. No phone or iPad. No computer. The amount of time spent on devices seems to be increasing around the house. Partly because the kids are getting older and they use them for school work and learning how to do things. Those things are great but the amount of time watching YouTube and playing games has also been increasing. So we made the decision to have a full day free of electronics.
As I was discussing this plan with my wife, I realized that the entire time we were talking I had been on the iPad playing a ridiculous, mindless game. Twenty minutes of just playing and talking and not giving my full attention to my wife. It had become a habit for me to sit down and pick up the iPad and start playing, just like it had become a habit for the kids to walk in the door and grab a device and start playing. As I realized what I was doing, I decided that my wife and I would also participate in this electronics free day. The day went well and at the end of the day, my 14 year old daughter said she loved it and we should do this at least once a month… and all the kids agreed.
The point here is not about spending time on our electronic devices, although I think in most cases, these have become huge time wasters. The point is the leadership by example. It makes it very difficult for me as a dad to tell my children they need to cut back on screen time while I have developed the same habit and have been getting too much screen time. It’s easy for me to sit back and tell the kids they need to back off on the screen time, but it is more effective for me to set the example.
In every arena of my life, whether it be at work, in one of the organizations I volunteer with, and especially at home as a husband and father, I have to “practice what I preach”. To live the life that I tell my kids to live. To live what I believe and set the example by my actions and behaviors. Being a parent means we have to live the life that we advocate for our kids to live. The same is true in every area of our lives.
The old expression that “talk is cheap” stands true. Our most powerful statements are made by what we do, not by what we say. Our kids and others around us are quick to discredit us and ignore us when our actions contradict our words. Every decision we make will impact our relationship with our families, our co-workers, our friends, and everyone around us.
The Bible says it like this:
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds
James 2: 17-18
The work that we do, the actions that we perform, all speak to what we really believe. We talk about the importance of exercise, but do we do it? We talk about reading the Bible daily, but do we do it? We talk about spending time with our family, but do we do it? It is easy to recognize the importance of doing something, but our actions demonstrate what is truly important in our lives.
This week, these next six and a half days, figure out what is truly important, lead by example and demonstrate your faith by what you do.