I’ve seen many people saying this is a “teachable moment” in U.S. history.

By that, they mean it’s a time for parents and ministers to seize the day and ensure that we are intentional about talking to the next generation about what is going on and what our response should be.

I’m all for teaching our children and for being aware of what is happening in our country politically, socially or otherwise.

But I also feel like it is extremely important that we recognize that every moment is a teachable moment.

Every single moment we are being observed by the next generation. Whether intentional or not, our influence is being absorbed.

Our actions, our reactions, our words, our lack of words – all of it is teaching, every moment of it.

If we only wait for “teachable moments” to be intentional, we are missing 98 percent of life.

The everyday moments like getting on the bus and watching TV and eating a meal and cleaning the house – these everyday mundane moments – are teaching just as much as the big headline-news ones.

How we live our lives, how we treat others and how we react to situations that arise are all being processed by the younger members of our society, and they are learning.

They are learning how to be citizens. They are learning how to approach life. They are learning how to be adults.

We simply must learn to be intentional, to be acutely aware that as people who are older than other people, we are being watched, legacy is being passed and worldviews are being formed.

It is not a momentary action. It is a lifelong reality.

And the very best thing for our children or others who are watching is when our unintentional life lines up with our intentional moments and there is consistency not conflict.

In other words, when we tell our children to be kind, they know what kindness looks like because they see that in us.

When we tell them that all people are valued for who they are regardless of any factor at all, they need to see that we approach all people in such a manner.

When we say we love God and we desire to follow him, they need to see that we do, not just on Sunday but every day of the week.

Why? Because every moment matters.

Let us live with intention and integrity so that those who are watching and learning from us can have the framework to do the same.

Christina Embree is a church planter with Plowshares Brethren in Christ in Lexington, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Wesley Seminary with a Master of Arts degree in ministry focusing on family, youth and children’s ministry. A version of this article first appeared on her website, Refocus Ministry, and is used with permission. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbreeChristina.

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