In Singapore, they built paved paths known as PCN (Park Connectors). As the name implies, it connects from one park to another. This is great because you can cycle, blade or run between parks.
Earlier this week I was exploring a route from Bishan down to Marina Bay Sands. It was fun exploring and riding a roadie (road bike). Once in a while, I came across certain sections where you have to dismount your bike and push. This usually happens along bridges or other congested areas.
There is one area under a bridge where riders are to dismount and push. As I got off my bike, I saw a father riding through it and passed me. Behind him was a boy, probably about 8 or so doing the same thing. In this section, they set up barriers that one person can go through at a time. I waited for them to go first.
I understood that because riding in such narrow areas can be dangerous, I don’t mind the wait. I am also not here to say I am better because I obey and they broke the rules.
As they ride past me, I learned a few lessons about parenting.
In this incident, I see that the child follows the parents and the parents set an example of the way the world works. The child, despite clearly see the signs to dismount, didn’t because his father did not comply. What does this speak to the child? There are some rules in life you can ignore. If I dig a bit deeper it means there are shortcuts you can take in life to get ahead as long as you don’t get caught.
Now, a more mindful parent may do something like this, only follow the rules when our kids are watching. I am guilty of that as well. Act nicer to others because my child is with me. For me, I don’t think that works. It doesn’t because my children see me 24/7 (or at least when they are around me). At home, they see me for who I am. There is no hiding or pretending. The worst is when the child figures out the parents are acting differently for them. This is what the Pharisees were doing. In front of others, they act ‘holy’ and righteous but their hearts are far from it. This is a hypocrite.
In James 2:8-11, it mentioned that you can’t keep the royal law, “Love your neighbour as yourself”, if you break one of the laws.
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.James 2:8-11 (NIV)
This incident comes as a warning to me. Am I keeping certain parts of Jesus’ teachings and not the others?
A lot of times, we are told, by media and others, that parents have little influence over their children’s behaviour. In the movie, Oversize Me, they stated that fast food restaurants spent billions on advertisements especially gear towards kids. They pose a question, how can parents combat this? For me, the answer is simple. The child will follow whatever the parents do, whether good or bad. Even with billion dollars of advertisement, a parent’s influence on a child is very strong. If not, stronger.
So what does this mean? I am reminded by this bike incident to be sure I walk the talk. There is no hiding or pretending.