Monday, May 21, 2012

Leading (our children) by example

I recently read an article about raising successful children and at one point, the writer mentioned that she was not a fan of the phrase, "do as I say, not as I do" and I couldn't agree more.  I'm not a fan.

When it comes to raising children, isn't it hypocritical to teach them one thing and live another?  To expect a certain standard in their lives and live out something different in our own?

Have you ever observed instances like this?

We occasionally take our girls to the mall where there is a small play area.  They have recently renovated the area to make it really nice. Signs are posted with a few simple rules to help keep order and to keep it safe and sanitary.  One of the rules is "no shoes" for children or caregivers while in the area.

Mall security passes by often to ensure that the area is safe and people are observing the rules.  Several times, I have seen security give gentle reminders to those not observing the rules.  I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed parents either completely disregard what he says, curse him when he walks away or comply with an awful attitude - IN FRONT OF THEIR CHILDREN!

I realize that keeping your shoes on in a play area is not a capital offense.  The point I am making, however, is the example that is being set.  I cannot help but wonder what the parents would think if their children responded the same way to authority (teachers, family, supervisors, coaches).  What do they teach their children regarding respect, having a good attitude, and humility?

It makes me look at my own self and my very actions that teach my children.  They rock and sing to their babies the same way I rock them.  They put on jewelry and smooth lip gloss on their lips like I do.  They imitate so many of the things I do.  Can I see some of my attitudes, shortfalls and negative habits in them?  Absolutely!  Where did they learn to yell at our dog on occassion? ahem....mommy and daddy.

I am constantly humbled by this when we are doing or Bible studies or focusing on lessons about character traits.  Am I just giving them an empty pattern of words or am I blazing the trail for them to follow?

What is the example we are setting?  Do our actions contradict our teachings?  Are our children confused because mommy and daddy can act one way, but expect something more from them?

Will you join me in being reminded daily that little eyes are watching - always. Little ears are listening and their actions are imitating-always.  How does that change the way we do things?