Every few days, my husband will take my cell phone and read through my text messages. To a man who thinks five text messages in a day is a busy day, my phone is a source of great entertainment. Of course, I too look through his phone from time to time. I also check the browser history on our computer and my daughter’s laptop. I go through my children’s rooms at times, just looking. Am I a paranoid wife and mother? No, I am a wife and mother that wants to keep the people closest in my life accountable. But I too need to be accountable to someone.
A child or a teen should have a constant stream of people that check on them, parents, teachers, and youth workers. Anyone who has had any interaction with a child or teen can say Amen! to the verse, “… but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Left to themselves, kids will do foolish things.
Adults are not much better. As we get older, the people who look after us become few and far between. For me, I know I am first and foremost accountable to God. I will have to give an account someday for my actions, but having people here on earth to keep you accountable can be just as powerful. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Your Spouse – As I have already mentioned, my husband and I check each other’s phones. We also have a guideline that if either of us has to email someone of the opposite gender, we copy each other on the email. We have one calendar in the kitchen, and all appointments and meetings are written on it so that our whereabouts are public knowledge.
- Your Kids – If you say you are going to do something, I guarantee your children will remember. So, do what you say you will do! And if you are not sure, do what I do and say, “I’ll have to talk to Dad about that.” Children need people in their lives that are dependable! And vice versa—if your children say something, make sure it really happened. If they said they cleaned their room, check to see that they did! If they said they studied for that test, quiz them on the subject matter.
- Your Church Family – You should have a spot that your family always sits at in your church. I think it encourages your pastor to see that you and your family are in your spot. It encourages other members to see you there. People also know where you will be should they need to find you and talk to you. It builds your testimony when you are in the place where you are supposed to be.
- Your Soul-Winning Buddies – During the school year, there are two other teachers that I go out with on some days after school. We keep each other accountable to find the time to go out, to get maps to areas, and to take turns driving. We enjoy our time together, and we get coffee afterward. With my groups of ladies, I would hate to let them down or cancel on them. Likewise, they keep me accountable for going out too.
- Your Friends – I have many friends, but only a few that I trust to keep me from doing something foolish. Do you have a friend that can tell you, “No, don’t do that;” or, “Why don’t you talk to …;” or my favorite, “No, you are not going to say that!” I do! And I listen to them. We need to have Proverbs 27:17 friends (iron sharpeneth iron). Sometimes sparks may fly, but in the end, we are better because of them.
No one is an island unto themselves; each of us daily impacts the lives of others. In order to keep ourselves from doing something careless, may I suggest that we all become accountable to someone? So, hand over that cell phone; your husband may just realize how busy your life is, or he may just laugh.
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Mrs. Chung grew up around the work of the ministry and now has the privilege of teaching at the North Valley Baptist Schools. She and her husband faithfully teach young people and are a vital asset to the ministry of NVBC.