Whether we’re aware of it or not, our children look up to us and seek our praise. It’s only natural that in that yearning, they’ll begin to mimic us in the hopes that if they are like us, we will give them our approval. As parents, we have a very special responsibility to make sure that we are modeling the goodness that we wish to see in them. It’s become almost second nature for some of us to let a bad word slip when someone cuts us off on the highway. Criticism easily flows out of our mouths when we’re on the phone or talking to our spouse while preparing dinner. We’re often not being mindful of the little ears just around the corner – if we are, we assume they don’t understand. They do. They soak up our actions and words like little sponges. Let’s all make a promise to try to be better role models for our children starting with small changes every day.
One way we can try to be better role models, is by saving unhealthy habits until after their bed time or giving it up completely. One day, our kids will grow up and be asked to attend parties where alcohol may be present. We may not be there to hold their hands and guide them in the right decoration, but if we show them that you don’t need alcohol to have fun when you’re an adult, the lesson may stick. The same goes for anything that may harm them – cigarettes, junk food, etc. It’s up to us to show them that life is more enjoyable without the intake of substances that are just not good for us.
It’s unrealistic to believe that some of us will never make a slip of the tongue in front of our children and say something mean, but we can try to be more careful. The only way to accomplish this is to try making the change in our lives even when the little ones are not around. If we don’t, we’ll never break the habit. If we do say something nasty, it’s our duty to apologize and make sure our kiddos know we were wrong. Showing them how to own up to mistakes and genuinely apologize is just as important as teaching them to be kind every day.
These are just two examples of many ways that we can improve our lives for our children. Take the challenge to better yourself so that your kids may mimic your humility, dedication, and most importantly, kindness, instead of bad habits. Not only will you grow to be more and more proud of them – one day, they’ll look at you through grown up eyes and be proud of you too.
We’re now in the second half of September, and the little ones have been back in school for about a month. During the summer months, it’s easy to feel close as a family. At any point in the day, you can go into their rooms and find them watching a movie or step outside to see them running around in the backyard. Come autumn, those moments are few and far between. The time you used to spend making crafts with your children is now spent just trying to fit all the errands you need to do in the day once they’re home from school. Evenings now look a little more like this: homework, dinner, bath, bed. With Texas requiring 180 days of instructional time for our children, though, it’s important that we find a way to remain close even once they’ve gone back to school. Here are some easy ways you can do just that.
Make Saturday mornings family breakfast day. Some of the best memories are made in a kitchen. Let mom handle omelets, dad handle pancakes, and the kiddos be your little helpers. The family will begin looking forward to the hearty meal and quality time, and as time goes on, memories of flour on their little noses and dad pouring too much syrup when mom’s not looking will be some of everyone’s most cherished.
Schedule two or three times a week for family fitness. When children are kept in a classroom all day, they have lots of stored energy that they need to get out. Use that to your advantage. Instead of giving them thirty minutes to run around outside alone, go for a bike ride as a family. You’ll get to squeeze family time in your busy schedule with a side of great exercise for everyone.
Don’t skip out on church. When everyone is back to being busy bees, it’s oh so easy to miss one Sunday morning of church to sleep in – then another and another. Before you know it, you’re in the habit of not going at all. Be a good example for your children by showing that time with family, and more importantly God, always comes first. After church, enjoy a nice family lunch together before getting ready for Monday morning.
Trying to handle everyone’s conflicting schedules can be a challenge, especially as kids get older and are more involved in extracurricular activities and clubs. Don’t give up. Home should always be where family is, and family should be where the heart is. Go to as many of their games and recitals as you can. If possible, be the one who drops them off at school in the morning. The little moments add up. These days are gone too soon, but if you invest time now in making sure your children know where home truly is, you’ll have many more beautiful days together to come.
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