Throughout life there are so many things we learn by example. From a young age we watch those around us and learn how to complete even the simplest daily tasks. I recall a toy purse that my girls had when they were toddlers that they both loved to play with. They both played with that purse, mimicking my actions. They would use the toy keys, phone, mirror and even the lipstick inside as they “pretended to go to work like mommy.” This was something we never directly taught them how to do but something they learned instinctively by watching me as I gathered my own purse and keys when I left for work each morning. Whether I want them to or not, whether I like it or not, my children are watching and learning from my example.
You may not have children living in your home right now, or maybe you do, but either way you most certainly have others who are watching and learning from your example. In verse 11 the writer states, “Even small children are known by their actions.” Throughout the book of Proverbs, we have been reading about the impact of our words and actions. Proverbs 20 speaks directly to the influences of these things on those who are watching our behaviors. We are to be examples for those who are watching. Moving forward to verse 12 the writer says: “The Lord has made two things. He has made ears that hear. He has also made eyes that see.” God has provided each of us with this power of observation with which to learn and grow. If we know others are watching, we know we will be judged by our actions, should that not cause us to be even more careful with our behavior?
As I continued to ponder the message of Proverbs 20 the refrain of a familiar children’s song came to my mind; “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.” This song has several verses each one focusing on a different action:
O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little tongue what you say
O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little feet where you go
O be careful little heart whom you trust
O be careful little mind what you think
Part of each verse from this song also includes the line “for the Father up above is looking down in love.” Not only is our Father in heaven watching what we say, what we listen to, and what we are doing, but others are as well. I hope in the days, weeks, and months ahead we will continue to be mindful of the influence our words and actions may have, for we never know who is watching!