Mirror, Mirror


So much of parenting, I think, is modeling for our young ones the behavior we hope they will emulate. Want more vegetables to make it into the tummy of your toddler? Mama and papa have to eat their peas and say how delicious they are. Want the words "please" and "thank you" to be said with more frequency? Mama and papa need to say them to each other as well as to their little one. Kids are so smart and they so readily pick up on hypocrisy. They know when the rules are unfairly different for them than for others and will protest accordingly.

And it works for poor behavior as well. I've tsked tsked (in my new crotchety old woman way) when I see tweens demonstrating what I consider to be poor cell phone etiquette, such as talking loudly and obnoxiously on their phones in public or not excusing themselves from their social group before answering their ringing phone, only to see mom or dad commit the same faux pas. It becomes no wonder where they picked up such behavior. It's not up to society to teach our kids how to behave, it's up to us.

Several times Steve and I have nervously said to each other, "well, he's not old enough to understand" when we model less-than-desirable behavior in front of Silas. Our language especially needs some work. At times it's difficult to tell whether one is in the Cable household or at the docks (ahem). It's so important to me that Silas have a foundation of kindness, love, and empathy to grow from and he will learn those traits primarily from Steve and I, meaning that I need to be far more mindful of my words and actions. Since we don't know exactly where that magic line of "old enough to understand" lies, it's important that we get in the habit now of behaving as if there are little eyes on us soaking in our every move. Because there are.

4 comments:

  1. quinn started dropping f-bombs at an embarrassingly young age, but honestly, he's way over that now at four. (i really mean that- he does use one on very rare occasions for emphasis, but then, don't we all? i think the key was never to shame him or try to get him not to- he worked out the appropriate usage on his own.) i do agree with you that children are absorbing every bit of what we say and do- there is no such thing as "not old enough to understand" in my opinion. but it's never too late to start modeling in better and better ways, either. it's a beautiful thing, and seeing ourselves through our little ones' eyes is such a powerful tool for honing our awareness of ourselves and what we're doing on this path. i adore this photo- so nice to see one of the mama! :)

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  2. Just when you think they are not listening or understanding that is what children and repeat back :) Sometimes correctly!!

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  3. Language is our biggest downfall, too. I've heard more than one profane word come out of Trinity's mouth, and I usually try to ignore it. It's amazing with the amount of cussing I do (even though I try to watch my mouth) that both of my kids don't swear like sailors.

    Beautiful picture! You are so spot-on about the way kids try to imitate us. It's good that you're trying to correct yourselves now, while Silas is still so little.

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