Having secured my cache of pharmaceuticals from Rite Aid, I pulled up to the Guide Meridian looking carefully to my left to see what, if anything, was coming from that direction. The Guide Meridian, widened from two lanes to four for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, is inarguably the busiest arterial in Whatcom County. This particular section of the road includes a fifth lane for those turning left into the various business parking lots adjoining the roadway. This center turn lane frequently doubles as a parking lot, a testament to the traffic load, and the long wait times endured by those desiring to turn left.
Seeing nothing coming from my left, I entered the roadway only to be greeted by a woman frantically dashing across this deathroad with two young shorts-and-tank-top-clad children, neither of which could have been older than five years, and each holding one of their Einstein mother’s hands. The youngest, on her mother’s left hand and farthest from me, was dashing as quickly as her adorable, chubby little legs would carry her. Her elder brother, also running as fast as he could manage, had a look of toddler fear on his face.
Toddler fear is a unique fear, not of one’s mortality given that a 5,000-pound vehicle is bearing down on you, but rather the fear of jumping off the top of the monkey bars, and knowing that it might hurt a little bit. This young lad was bright enough to know something about his current experience should frighten him, but was not experienced enough in the ways of the world to realize how foolish was the activity in which he, his sister, and mother were engaged.
The nearby intersection, complete with lights, crosswalks, and a modern walk/don’t walk sign was roughly 20 yards up the street from the trio’s current jaywalking location. Without a doubt, this brilliant woman before me shaved a full 120 seconds from her afternoon journey, hopefully enough time to make it home before the opening scenes of this week’s Honey Boo Boo rerun.
“What a horrifying example you are setting for your children,” I thought to myself as I resisted the urge to lay on the horn. Doing so would serve only to intensify the fear of the older sibling, and probably earn me a “You’re number one,” signal from the mother, who already knew she was engaged in the most imbecilic behavior I would witness all day.
Without a doubt, one or both of these children will someday mindlessly dash across the middle of a busy street, precisely because that is what they were taught to do. “This is how it’s done,” their subconscious mind will instruct them. Just as likely, when they do so, they will end up with a sore bottom lovingly supplied by the same genius who taught them to cross the road in precisely that way. “Do as I say, not as I do!”
Setting a positive example is an act of love.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul spoke of doing all for the glory of God, being careful to behave in ways that do not cause others to stumble in their faith. He says this, not seeking his own good, but the good of others, and immediately on the heels of this admonition to selflessness, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”
Two chapters later, in 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul says that love does not seek its own way. Love is devoid of self, and thus knows nothing of impatience or selfish motives. Following Paul’s example as he follows the example of Christ demands that I consider the impact of my example on those around me, whether that be the men and women on this social media site, or the two adorable children holding my hands.
Victoriously in Christ!