This is sweet Chrystal Evans Hurst. With her dad Tony, Chrystal has written an encouraging book on living for Jesus called Kingdom Woman: Embracing Your Purpose, Power, and Possibilities. She asked me to read it and I did - and I found so much good meat there!
And then our son's wedding fell apart and we've been riding a crisis management roller coaster every since. When I mentioned it to Chrystal, she said, "No problem!", and she wrote a post just for you.
Yesterday we found a small gecko hanging out by our front door. My 14 year old daughter and I were observing it as it stood still. My 3 year old son found pleasure in observing it too ...until it moved. When that tiny little amphibian moved, my daughter and I went to screaming and jumping around . . . and so did my son.
A friend of mine was over visiting and she got some hairspray to freeze the little bugger to make him easier to catch. Hairspray makes great bug spray by the way. She caught him and put him in a container - cutting of his tail in the process. The whole experience was quite traumatic let me tell you!
I was soooooo ready to throw that little creature into a random neighbor's yard three blocks down but my daughter wanted to keep him until my husband came home. My worst fear? ...that the baby lizard-like-thing would get loose in my house. Stupid for me to freak out ‘cuz the thing was super tiny. I don’t even think it was longer than my pinky.
Doesn’t matter. I was still still freaked COMPLETELY out!
So for two days until hubby came home the gecko lived in a jar on my kitchen island. For two days, my 3 year old didn't want any part of it.
I wondered how he went from being curious to being so afraid of that little thing. OOOOOOOOhhhhhhh . . . 'cuz his MOMMY WAS SCARED!
So my fear rubbed off on him I'm sad to say. As a homeschooling Mom, I'm always reading about other homeschooling families looking at life as school and taking advantage of opportunities like this. But not me. Apparently I had taken this opportunity and created a fear of geckos in my preschooler.
When hubby got home I tried to get my son to show his daddy the gecko. You know that it was my attempt to try and redeem myself and encourage my son to look in awe at that little creature. "Nooooooooo" is all I got.
Around dinnertime, my son came up to the couch with a big smile on his face and said, "Daddy look at the lizard". Only there was no lizard. My son was carrying only the top from the container the lizard was in. Very slowly, I said, "Sweetie, where is the lizard?" - hoping to God that what I thought was happening was only a figment of my imagination.
I got up from the couch and saw the container laying on the floor with no lizard in it. "Oh no!", I cried. Right at this instant my little boy jumped on the couch and started crying and saying over and over, "I scared of the lizard"! Shoot . . . I rubbed off on him again . . .
Well, this started an all out search for our tiny, gecko friend which ended with me hoisting up our sofa and my husband doing the honors of capturing the rodent. We looked around for our son, only to find him in our bed, under our covers, hiding out. He would only come out when we had convinced that the "wicked old gecko" was gone. My husband told him to stop crying and was actually getting irritated that his son was so freaked out by the incident. After all, he's a boy and boys are supposed to love this kind of stuff. Well… Unless they are freaked out by their little-animal-fearing-mamas.
This humorous memory reminds me that my power to influence my kiddos is awesome. I can rub off on them so easily. They watch and imitate so much of what I say and do.
This isn’t just true about how I react to small animals. It’s true when it relates to how I live my life in every area. I will influence my children in how I live out my faith, how I treat others, and how I take care of myself. They will inherit my habits, imitate my strengths, and possibly reproduce my weaknesses. They will love like they’ve seen me love, criticize the way they’ve seen me critique, and embrace life as they see me doing the same.
While those thoughts are sobering, they are also motivating. I have the power to rub off on my children.
So the next time I see a rodent, insect, or member of the amphibian family, I'm gonna have to grow up and realize that my son is watching. Maybe I can summon enough courage to be brave for the sake of his curiosity and his feeling of security! And maybe, as I live out my life on a daily basis, I can summon enough strength to be the person of faith, kindness, love, and and good habits – the same kind of person that I want my children to be.
Chrystal Hurst is writer, speaker, and worship leader in addition to serving as the chief executive operating officer in her home as a wife and mother of five. She is a self-proclaimed "geek" and bibliovore, who is actively seeking help for her addiction to Starbucks, sweet tea, and chocolate chip cookies. Chrystal is co-author of the recent release, Kingdom Woman and also blogs regularly at Chrystal’s Chronicles.