It has become common among some Christian groups to greet life’s decisions with the question, “What would Jesus do?” This theological consideration is sometimes turned into the acronym “WWJD?” and printed on bumper stickers, t-shirts, bracelets, and a collection of other tacky clothing I’m pretty sure Jesus would never wear. If Jesus wouldn’t wear that “WWJD?” t-shirt–and you would–then you’re doing something that Jesus wouldn’t do. Is that ironic? Maybe. Is that an ugly t-shirt? Definitely.
If you’re a Christian parent, you run the risk of diluting the influence of Jesus as an example if you start overusing “WWJD?” as a source of positive influence and begin extending it to every exhausting parental challenge.
“What would Jesus do, Bobby?”
“Jesus would eat his vegetables.”
“Jesus would go to bed right now.”
“Jesus would SIT DOWN on Santa’s lap and SMILE AND STOP CRYING so we can take this picture to commemorate Jesus’ birth and ALL GO HOME!”
If you overuse Jesus, it won’t be long before your kids start to realize Jesus sounds a lot like the kid in class who reminds the teacher to give homework.
Besides, the idea of pointing to Jesus as an example has its limitations once you get past morality and begin approaching theological grey-area subjects like style and charisma. I feel good about the moral progress of 1.5 of my 2 children, and now I’m focusing more on teaching them how to be classy. Because my wife and I have two sons, I’m sensitive to my wife feeling left out if we three boys are collectively too boyish, so I’ve made a big effort to teach the boys manners and to be polite in the presence of a lady, and this means good table manners, no swearing, no farting, no belching.
The world’s religions give very little practical advice on posture, grooming, table etiquette, etc., so what example do I use as a benchmark in teaching them class? When one of them burps at the table I ask, “What would James Bond do?”
WWJBD? James Bond is classy. He’s smart. He’s smooth with the ladies. He’s always polite, even when greeting his worst enemy. He plays a mean game of baccarat and if he loses he doesn’t cry and throw game pieces. He never forgets to wear pants. He’s a man’s man, but he never lowers himself to belch, fart, or swear in front of a woman. In fact I doubt he does it in front of men either. While Jesus holds down the morality fort, James Bond can be our example of classiness. James Bond has taught my sons all sorts of lessons:
James Bond would wear a shirt at the dinner table.
James Bond would flush after using the toilet.
James Bond wouldn’t wear the same clothes to school four days in a row.
James Bond wouldn’t give his dad a hug for no other reason than needing a place to wipe his nose.
James Bond would never eat anything off of the floor.
I must warn you the example of James Bond does have some limitations. Don’t try and say, “James Bond wouldn’t jump on the furniture,” or, “James Bond wouldn’t play with matches,” because sometimes he does jump on the furniture and sometimes he does play with matches, and sometimes he does both at the same time.