I have often wondered about the experiences of pediatric nurses and doctors.  Seeing kids all day, every day, surely they must have some interesting stories to tell of some totally out of control children.  In the short time frame that a child is in the office, can these medical folks see the well-trained children from the poorly trained ones?  Is it obvious? Or is it too short a time frame to really notice behavior problems.  Well, today I got my answer.

My son had his 1-year doctor appointment today.  As usual, I had all three of my kids in-tote.  We were led into the exam room where the nurse did her best to engage my girls in some small talk, which, depending on their mood, may get you no response, or may get you more feedback than you had hoped for.  She commented to the girls how good they were behaving, and then she commented, half to them, half to me, ‘I bet mom runs a tight ship at home’ too which I replied, ‘yes I do’.

She has been a nurse for some time, so I asked her if she has seen a decline in behavior over the years.  I got a big, ‘OH YEAH’ response.  She went on to tell me how, after all these years, she can usually tell children who are disciplined and those who aren’t.  There are some kids who come into the office, and practically tear the place apart, while mom or dad just sit there and do nothing.  From her experience, there is no difference between younger moms and older moms, it’s simply an overall decline in the discipline of children.

That got me to thinking, as I go about the mundane daily tasks of being a mother, including the tireless efforts to train and correct my children, maybe there is an effect that extends beyond the walls of my home.  While I am certainly charged with the proper training of the children for their sake, it’s more than that.  It’s for the Gospel sake.  What if, part of my witness to the world, brining light to the darkness, is having children who do not wreak havoc everywhere they go.  Who sit (relatively) quietly, and respectfully in the doctor’s office.  Who obey when they are called, both at home, but also in public.

There have been many instances when I am waiting on a line somewhere, and my girls are entertaining themselves just to the side of the line.  Maybe folks comes stand behind us, or something else happens, when it no longer seems appropriate to have them to the side, and I call them over to stand quietly next to me.  Most of the time, they come quickly, and without complaint, as I expect.  When this happens, I’ll often hear a lady look, and comment to whomever she is with, ‘look, they listen so well.’  Could this be part of my Gospel witness to the world.  Part of what it means to be set apart?

Disclaimer: make no mistake, by no means do I think my children are perfect!  And I’m sure the next time we are out in public they will throw a big hissy fit over something just to remind me that they are not perfect – and it wouldn’t be the first time.

Disclaimer 2: I am also not saying that every well-behaved child is from a Christian family, and every poorly behaved child is not.  I am an example of that:  I was not raised in a Christian home, yet my brothers and I were outwardly good, respectful and polite.