"Example isn't another way to teach, it's the only way to teach." -Albert Einstein
Having a child who is speech/language impaired has really emphasized the importance of setting an example for our children. Sam my have a hard time understanding my words, but when he SEES me do things, there is no question in his mind what is going on.
All us parents understand that our actions affect the way our children behave. They want to be just like us in every way and if they see us bully others, talk badly about people behind their backs, lie, cheat... the list goes on... chances are, they will be those kind of people too.
When Ben came back from training a little over a year ago, he also brought a bit of a potty mouth with him. Not only did I have to break him of using bad words, but I am STILL working on the boys who picked up on the new vocab faster than Barney got annoying!
We all catch our kids, at least once, picking up on our most disliked habit... it happens. They seem to just know what to do...
I think we as parents need to be good examples to our kids, not just when they are around, but even when they aren't. I know I do things or say things when they aren't around that I normally wouldn't do if they were. But I also know that I need to stop.
I want to be a better person for my kids. I want to be a guiding influence for good in their lives... always. Besides, I never know when they are watching...
Today, when I went to pick Sam up at school, a bunch of the older kids were just going in from recess. I got the baby and Nephi out of the car and we started to walk up to the door where we normally wait for Sam to come out. Just as the kids from recess were going in, one of the kids lost control of his bouncer ball and it bounced into the road. I quickly told Nephi to stay on the grass with the baby and I ran out into the road to fetch the ball and then threw it back to the grateful kid. Nephi instantly told me how cool I was for getting the ball. It was no big deal to me, what parent wouldn't do it, you know? But to Nephi, a ball is a pretty important piece of toy and I saved it for a kid.
When the bell rang and Sam came out, he came up to me and gave me a hug and smiled up at me. He said: "Mommy, I was watching you out of the window. I did see you get the ball in the street with all the cars! You were brave, Mommy. You saved the ball for the kids." Then he got this huge smile on his face and patted my hand. "Mommy, I am so proud of you," he told me and then blew me a big kiss. My heart melted.
I had no idea that fetching a ball in the street would make such an impression on my boys. To me it was so trivial and normal... to them it was heroic. And they made me feel a bit like a hero... to them anyway.
So the moral of my story is, always be the best you can be. Serve people, be kind, go out of your way to be helpful and courteous, you never know who is watching and you never know who you will touch and leave a bit of an impression on. Make life count.
Has a stranger ever made an impression on you? Or your kids? Have you ever unknowingly made an impression on someone else and discovered it later, like I did?