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Modeling Kindness
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The light drizzle turned to a steady rain as I packed my groceries into the car and got behind the wheel. Heading out of the parking lot I saw the figures of a woman and a young child as they walked hand in hand along the road with no umbrella. My heart went out to them. “They’re getting soaked,” I thought. “Should I do something to help them?”

Normally I do not offer rides to strangers. But in that split second, trying to decide if I would stop and invite the woman and child into my car or not, a memory from my childhood came to mind. It was that memory that influenced my decision.

The woman gladly accepted my invitation and soon we were on our way to where they needed to go. We didn’t have much of a conversation because I don’t speak Spanish and their English was limited. But the woman thanked me over and over as she and her little boy exited the back seat of my car and dashed into the building to avoid the rain.

Felt Impressed to Stop

As a child I remember the day my mother came home and told us a this story. Driving that afternoon along a busy highway, she saw a woman and a young child walking on the shoulder of the road. She felt impressed to stop to see if they needed a ride. The woman was returning from taking her sick child to the doctor and had no available transportation, so they had walked. Sadly, the farm where this woman and her husband helped harvest fruit was located more than 10 miles from the doctor’s office. Needless to say, she was very grateful for the ride my mother offered her back to the farm.

My mother’s actions that day made a huge impression on me as a child. But more than that, my parents’ example of treating people with kindness is now a part of who I am. At the age of 59 my life is still being impacted by the things I observed as my parents modeled hospitality, kindness, generosity and so many other Christ-like traits of character.

Sometimes the seemingly insignificant actions we take are the things that stay with our children. Observing mom or dad treat someone with respect and kindness or apologizing when out of line make a lasting impression. On the other hand, when a child observes blatant dishonesty, prejudice, gossip or any other un-Christ-like behavior in a parent, the effects are long-lasting and devastating.

We must never forget that our actions do speak louder than our words. Only by God’s grace can we successfully model His character and leave a lasting, positive legacy of character to our children.

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By Nancy Gerard. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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