Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Like it or not, as parents we are setting an example for our children every single day - right or wrong, better or worse.  Since becoming a mom, setting a good example is something that I've tried to do.  At times I've been more successful than at other times, but succeed or fail, I'm always an example.  Over the past several years it's really dawned on me how important the example we set for our children can be.  I had been being a lousy example, and I was seeing the fruit of that lousiness.  How could I ask our son to do what I was not willing to model for him?  I couldn't, plain and simple.  I then had my light bulb moment.

As a child I was never given any household responsibilities.  I didn't even have to make my bed.  We had a cleaning lady that came in twice a week, and on the days she wasn't there my mom would take care of things after we left for school.  So not only did I not have to do anything around the house, but since I was in school all day long I never saw anyone else doing it either.  It just magically got done!  How cool is that?

As an adult I've never been a "happy" housewife.  Somewhere deep down inside I felt that it wasn't my responsibility to take care of the house, and I'd get downright angry about it.  It took a while - a very long while - for me to figure out what was going on, but one day I finally understood.  Instead of waiting around for "someone" to take care of things, I needed to step up and be "someone" and take care of things myself.  That understanding has changed my attitude about lots of things, not just the housework.

Since my "aha!" moment I've noticed something else as well.  Our son's attitude has been improving.  He's always helped me around the house when I've asked for help, but now there is about 98% less hemming and hawing that comes along with the help.  He's even begun taking the initiative to do some things on his own.  And all of this has happened without any badgering from me.  It's been wonderful.

So, is there an area where you'd like your child to improve or a habit you'd like them to acquire?  Step back and see how that is being modeled to them.  Sometimes it can pinch a little to take a look at ourselves that way, but our kids are worth it.  Let them see that behavior in you and you just might be surprised at what happens.

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