Children have a funny way of teaching us life lessons when we least expect them.
With no special announcement, with no resounding alarm, they make us look introspectively from time to time, on the most ordinary of days, and face the person we really are and the person we are training them up to be.
Sometimes those two don’t always coincide.
‘I know you’re upset, and that’s okay, but that doesn’t mean you can throw a fit,’ I had told her.
No sooner had I said the words, my thoughts turned reflective.
I wondered how many times she had seen me upset or sad and how I responded.
‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ That phrase played over and over in my mind.
Thanks to Daniel Tiger, my toddler has learned a lot about emotions. She knows that ‘it’s okay to be sad sometimes’ or what to do ‘when you feel so mad that you want to roar!’ As her mama, I also talk to her quite a bit about appropriate responses when she has negative emotions.
What I forgot to take into account is she is watching me and maybe, just maybe, I’ve been telling her how to behave without modeling it.
That, to me, is one of the worst offenses I could make in motherhood.
(Photo Credit: Kelly Dier Photography)
The fact is, we serve as guides for our children. How they view themselves, others and the world around them is largely made up of our influence - especially at this stage in the game. Do we offer grace to those who have wronged us? Do we lend a helping hand to those in need? Do we stick up for the bullied? Do we exercise self control when we feel out of control? When we don’t get our way, do we stomp around with poor attitudes or rise above it and make the most of what we’ve been given?
The great responsibility of a parent is not only to tell our children what to do in these types of scenarios, but to model right living. Not just for their sake, but for our own.
My children have been one of my greatest resources when it comes to personal growth. While I am their ‘teacher,’ they continue to be mine.