Modeling: At the Pizza Buffet

When it comes to modeling character, the little things add up.

Bruce was treating his three kids and himself to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. From the outside, they couldn’t miss the buffet price painted in huge numbers and bright colors on the window. It also advertised the cheaper price for kids, age 4 through 9.

Since Bruce’s oldest child, Parker, had just celebrated his 10th birthday, of course he noticed the sign and commented on it as they stood in line to pay. He was almost proud that he’d be charged the full price for his pizza. Bruce, of course, wasn’t so thrilled.

When they reached the cashier, Bruce was either thinking about something else, or maybe had a lapse in judgment, because the cashier didn’t ask how old Parker was, and Bruce didn’t say anything. So she quickly rang up one adult and three children, Bruce paid the money, and they were herded through.

Wouldn’t you know it, Parker is one of those kids who notices everything. So when they sat down with their plates full of “gourmet” pepperoni pie, he pointed it out. “Dad, they didn’t charge us enough, did they?”

Suddenly it was very clear to Bruce that he should have paid more attention to that transaction—because it’s the right thing to do, and because his son was watching to see how he handled it. “You’re right, Son,” he said, and immediately he went back and paid the difference.

The girl at the register tried to wave him off and say it didn’t matter—it was only a dollar and a few pennies. But to Bruce, it did matter. His integrity was on the line—at least in the eyes of his children. He did the right thing eventually, but he knows he should have done it right the first time.

It wasn’t a dramatic situation, but it does demonstrate the importance of consistency of character and modeling for our kids. They’re always watching us, wondering, “What’s Dad going to do?” “How’s he going to handle this one?” “Does he really walk the talk?”

Dad, your children will be powerfully influenced by the memories of you relaxing your standards and compromising godly values, as well as the times when you went out of your way to do the right thing. It’s worth a little money—no, it’s worth a lot of money—to defend your integrity and be a positive model.

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