My boys, love to wear our shoes. They will parade around the house wearing our shoes and laughing as they go. This is adorable, slightly frustrating as sometimes our shoes go missing, but it also a little convicting. My boys are watching me closely and are picking up on so many little things and many big things. As I was appreciating these cute little moments, I stopped for a minute to think about the things that I want them to mimic and then had to ask myself--am I living in a way that I want my boys to be like me?
Just do right. Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can't give you." Maya Angelou
Just Do Right. Even when it's hard. Even when it's not convenient.
Our children watch and interpret every little thing we do and the way in which we handle different situations becomes the template for how they handle situations in the future. That may be when things are going well, when you are stressed or tired. It may be how we handle things on the road with other drivers who of course are never as good of a driver as we are. They watch how we handle victories and how we navigate loss. They are watching how we handle people in public and how we talk about them in private. Children are very perceptive and are constantly learning from us. The question becomes, are we teaching them the lessons we want them to carry out themselves?
How do you handle rules?
The other night, I was having a conversation with one of my sons who had a rough day at school. As we were talking he said, "I don't like rules." I was glad I was driving because I could hide my smirk as I kind of laughed to myself and thought--who really likes rules? We began talking about the rules that daddy has to follow and that they are not fun. We talked about how fast daddy should drive and I pointed out the speed limit signs to them. Now the boys ask me throughout our little drives, if I driving too fast. I have two little passenger policemen just watching to see if I follow the rules of the road or not. The moment that I show my boys that rules I am asked to follow can be bent, broken or ignored, I have given them the permission to do the same to ALL of their rules.
How do I handle when I break a rule?
Do you ever feel like you have to keep your failures and flaws a secret from your children? You feel like they need the "perfect parent"? Here's the thing--disruptions, disappointments and things not going as planned are a part of life. The urge as parents is to quickly hide these things from our kids in our way of attempting to protect them. It makes sense, but the thing we must realize is that in order to help them be successful, we must be able to show them how to handle failures as well as successes. We have to, within reason, allow our kids to see our faults. We can model how we remedy those situations with integrity. How we handle failures or mistakes establishes a template for my children to follow. Am I creating the template I want my kids to duplicate?
Who are my role models that help guide me?
What are the influences I am allowing in my life to shape my influence & impact on my children? (Perry 2024)When I think about the parent I want to become, I have to look around to see if those influencing me are helping to move me in the correct direction. This would mean those I associate with in an in-person setting, those I follow on social media, those in leadership in our communities, our country and our world and even those I watch on TV/movies. Those things impact me as a parent. The question becomes--Am I spending time investing in positive influences for myself so that those influences positively impact my children? This seems simple, but we have to stop and recognize how those who influence us are going to impact our example for our children. We must choose wisely for the sake of our children.
Just Do Right.
Doing right as a parent is tough. It is a never ending job and it is exhausting. Here are a couple small things we can do today to positively impact our parenting and influence on our kids.
List out the influences/role models in your life:
In person influences
Sports or Political Figures
Rate the positive influence (0 being not a person I want my child to mimic, 5 being I hope some day they are just like this person).
Be real and authentic. Admit when we have broken a rule, made a mistake or when we have recognized a negative influence in our lives. Model for our children the corrective action.
Be patient. It will not happen over night and just as it will take time to see the progress in our lives, we must also be patient as our children adjust as well.