(While the following post is directed mainly to parents, anyone can learn from the points made when dealing with children close to us)
This morning, my youngest and I [Ginny] were the only ones awake. Therefore, she and I got the opportunity to hangout together while everyone else was sleeping.
She stood by my side as I brushed my teeth, put in my contacts and prepped for the day. As I was brushing my hair, I noticed her watching me closely out of the corner of my eye. She was impersonating the expression I made while brushing my hair. Realizing I was making a face that screamed with dissatisfaction at my appearance, I smiled at my reflection, and she began to smile.
At that very moment, she was learning how to look at her own reflection in the mirror.
I was modeling it for her.
It reminded me of another lesson my husband and I learned just the week prior. The kids were playing in the other room, and suddenly, we heard them saying some not so nice things to each other in really mean tones that turned into yelling. We told them that they needed to use kind words with each other.
But no sooner were those words out of my mouth when I realized that the way they were speaking to each other was exactly like we spoke to them when we were upset.
That was such a humbling moment for us, and we knew that we needed to make a change ASAP to how we reacted in frustration and anger to our kids. We began to watch our tone and volume and use kinder words.
Within a couple of days, our kids started changing in how they spoke to one another. It was incredible and encouraged us to continue the changes we made.
When Christ was on the Earth, He lived a life that modeled for us how to react to different kinds of people (good and wicked), how to respond to temptation, how to speak kindly to others, how to forgive, and even how to pray. He was the perfect role model.
And while we are not perfect like Jesus, we do not have an excuse to be lazy when it comes to how we live our lives in front of our children.
Each and everyday, our kids are learning, and I'm not talking about the ABC's, numbers, or how to read.
They are learning how:
- to have a deep and meaningful relationship with God
- to be generous and kind to all
- to view themselves
- to interact with others
- to manage anger and frustration
- to show respect for others
- to be a spouse
- to keep a home
- to manage money
- how to prioritize
...and the list continues.
Questions we need to ask ourselves are:
Am I living the kind of life that I want my child to live as they grow older?
Am I glorifying God with the example I am setting for my children?
Even though your children's personalities are different and varied, we often return to our roots and things that we did in our families. Chances are high your child will parent similarly to you. She will view her body and receive (or put down) compliments like you. Her music tastes will have a foundation that began with what you listen to. Her anger management skills (or lack of them) will look very much like yours. A son will treat his wife like he sees your husband treat you. His language (clean or filthy) will mirror yours. He will have a stronger chance at having a close relationship with God if they see you not only model quiet time but seeking God in every decision and running to God when we are afraid.
Therefore, I encourage you to examine your life right now. If you don't want your child turning out like you, ask yourself WHY. Start looking at those areas you would like to change, and I encourage you to make the changes you need to make in order to model the skills you want your children to have.
Some changes (like anger management and financial responsibility) are difficult to make because they are deep and ingrained. I encourage you to find a class, a therapist, or enlist the help of a friend or spouse. They can keep you accountable, help you know how to change and encourage you to keep making the change.
Which areas would you like to see change in your life? Share in the comments below so we know how to pray for you as you choose to make a better future for your children!
Ginny is a child of God, wife to an amazing husband, and adoptive mother to two sweet little girls. When she isn't having dance parties with her kids, going on crazy adventures with her youngest, or singing at the top of her lungs to Disney soundtracks, she enjoys a good chai from Starbucks, watches Downton Abbey, and gets giddy over discovering new yummy paleo recipes. You will also find her sharing her joy moments and faith at her personal ministry blog at Joy from Grace.