Leading by Example

Me with my son when he was just a sweet nine months old...

Me with my son when he was just a sweet nine months old…

What does it mean to be a mom? Wow, is that a loaded question! Sounds like an idea for a series… but for now, I will postulate:

For me, it means discipleship. I believe children learn best by imitation. Washing dishes? Pull up a chair beside you and let your little one “wash” some unbreakable things, maybe even toys.  It will take longer. It will, but modeling and teaching joy in our responsibilities is worth the time and effort. Washing dishes in far from my favorite thing to do with my time, but I do not want to pass along that attitude, so I try to keep in mind that I have little eyes watching me. Does that mean I always wash them as soon as they hit the sink? Nope. I am not perfect. Dishes have been known to sit (usually scraped and/or rinsed) for days when life gets hectic. Still, I try not to eschew the dishes just because I hate them. It is usually busyness or physical problems that get me sidetracked.

It is the act of acceptance, imitation, and guidance that allows our little ones to grow and learn.  They are little sponges. They see and learn our attitudes. They copy them. They see and learn our actions. They copy them.  They want to be like us. It’s how they were created to learn.

When my son was little and wanted me to play with him while I was in the midst of “doing my chores,” I would always tell him that I would play when I was done with my responsibilities. That is, unless he approached me with a book. Books were special. I wanted my son to be a reader. To that end, I would always stop, sit, pull him into a snuggle on my lap, and read one or two short books with him. Then I would tell him that I had to go finish my responsibilities and would play with him when I was done.  It quelled a lot of whining and taught him that books were awesome. My now 14 year-old son is now quite a reader. Granted, he is pulled into video games at times and likes teen fiction right now, but he’s reading. Now, I do not subscribe to the idea of letting him read anything he gets his hands on, of course; I do provide guidance, but I also allow him freedom to choose. In response to slipping grades, his father recently threatened to take away his wi-fi, intending to take away his on-line gaming. My son was unfazed. He responded that it was ok with him, as he loved to read. Not a great attitude towards his father, but a great attitude towards books. Lest you think my son is a pale, wimpy bookworm, let me lay your fears to rest. He is also a high school football player and a thespian. He is a very well-rounded kid.

I don’t have all the answers to raising kids, but I can tell you what worked with me. He isn’t crazy about doing dishes, but he will do them when I ask. I consider that a positive.

 

So, this picture is blurry, but it’s ok. Books are supposed to be fun! Sandra Boynton “Oh My Oh My Oh DINOSAURS!

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2 thoughts on “Leading by Example

  1. I had no idea you weren’t perfect! You’ve totally blown my idea of you to smithereens. LOL. All joking aside, I really enjoyed your post. It is so true that our children are sponges and they will absorb whatever attitudes, actions, and perspectives we display…and then they grow to be teens. Getting your teen to do a task you requested is definitely a positive.

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