A careful man I want to be,
A little fellow follows me
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he'll go the self same way.
I cannot once escape his eyes.
Whate're he sees me do he tries,
Like me he says he wants to be,
That little chap who follows me.
He thinks that I am big and fine,
He trusts in every word of mine.
The sin in me he does not see,
That little chap that follows me.
I must remember as I go
Through summer sun and winter snow,
I am building for the years to be
That little chap who follows me.
Lord, let my little chap to see
A follower leaning hard on thee;
That as he grows he'll be inspired
To seek the One whom I desire.
The first part of the poem is a good general reminder that our children will follow us, so therefore, our behavior needs to be what we want to see in them.
But, it is the last stanza of the poem that most speaks to my heart.
Years ago I miscarried our first baby. Then, when our first-born was about 1 year old, I was re-reading a book someone had given me after that miscarriage; "I'll Hold You In Heaven", by Jack Hayford. I was praying my child would get to know Jesus. I wanted both of my children to one day be in heaven. Then, out of the blue, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, telling me that she wouldn't go if I didn't. There was a small part of me that wanted to resist what my heart was telling me. After all, I went to church (off and on, and at that time, on), I had followed one of those group, repeat after me sinners prayers at some youth function when I was about 12, I had half-heartedly prayed the same sort of thing several other times, other people thought of me as a believer. Wasn't I okay? No. And although that small part was talking, it was hushed very quickly by the greater part of me that knew I wasn't saved. So I asked Jesus to help me. That's all. Nothing fancy. I have occasionally wished that there was more to it, but those feelings have generally happened when in a larger group where people have these fantastic conversion stories; how God moved on them so powerfully that they couldn't keep their seat, or they couldn't move from where they were, or couldn't sleep another wink until they settled things with God. In short, when I was comparing myself to others.
But, I'm not "other people". I wasn't raised in church, fell out, and then came back (I wasn't raised in church at all-the youth function thing was rare). I wasn't strung out on drugs, in danger of dying anytime from an overdose. I wasn't an alcoholic, abuser, thief, or anything else. I was just a "normal" everyday person, leading a fairly quiet life. Most people thought of me as good, and I probably did too - after all, I wasn't in one of the aforementioned groups. So what does it take to get the attention of someone who is a pretty good person? One who doesn't really do anything bad; who does her best to treat people well and live up to her responsibilities? Well, in my case, it was getting straight to my heart - which was my child. When I realized that her salvation could hinge on my own, my heart was forced to accept the fact that I wasn't saved. That I wasn't "okay". That I wasn't good enough. That only Jesus could save me. That only by following Him myself could I teach my child the necessity of following, and trusting Him for her own salvation.
Needless to say, I'm not perfect. I've not always done what I should do. I've occasionally let circumstances or influences (or my own wicked heart) turn me from following the right path. I've gotten discouraged and left church from time to time (it's easy to focus on people instead of God), or just gotten sidetracked, or lazy in my Bible reading (which can lead to it's own problems). BUT, I'm in a different place now than I was then. I've grown a great deal. I see so many things so much differently. I often laugh at the change in some of my opinions and attitudes, and sometimes I'm very much chagrined when remembering things I believed, or more especially, things I've said. We defininately do not remain static when we're following God.
There is a challenge in the last stanza of the poem for all Christian parents; imparting to our children a desire for God in their lives, but in doing this we must also impress in them an urgent desire to pass that belief on to their own children.