Our Children Are Watching

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum

Answering the knock on the door, two eager faces of neighborhood children greeted me. It was a common occurrence on a Saturday morning in base housing.

“Hi, guys,” I said as I prepared to holler to my kids their friends wanted them to play.

The older of the two stood prancing back and forth as he asked,

“Can your husband come out and play?”

Perplexed, I asked,

“Do you mean my kids? Are you asking if my kids can come out and play?”

Shaking their heads, in unison they both replied,

“No, the Dad. Can the Dad come out and play?”

Smiling at them both, I told them to wait a minute, and I called for my husband.

“Kenn, your friends are here.”

I chuckled as he made his way to the front door and looked from the two young faces to mine in confusion.

My husband may have been confused, but I stood there beaming with pride as I knew what these kids saw in my man

The two neighborhood kids who came to my door all those years ago had watched my husband and kids play outside regularly.

Their dads were not involved much in their lives, and the only time we saw them was when they were mowing the lawn or washing their car. Even then, the children sat by the wayside, resting their heads in their hands, longing to help their dads.

Whether my husband realized it or not, he was a role model to not only our own children, but the neighborhood kids

Important Lessons

Kids learn some of the most important lessons by watching the most influential people in their lives;

YOU!

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach or neighbor, kids will learn valuable life lessons by your example.

What Lesson Are You Teaching?

You may not know it, but your day-to-day behavior, from the way you drive to the tone of your voice, is shaping the way your child will act.

For many children, the most important role models are those who have a regular presence in their lives.

Children look up to a variety of role models that help shape how they behave in school, handle relationships, or make difficult decisions.

Children will use the example you set, whether it be positive or negative, as a pattern for the way life should be lived.

What we do doesn’t define who we are; who we are defines what we do.

Saying “Do as I say, not as I do” simply does not work.

Children can spot hypocrisy like an eagle spots its prey over a mile away, and they gain the most from parents who show consistency between their actions and their values by “walking the talk.”

Do As You Say

If you don’t want your children to spend too much time on technology devices, then it’s important that you limit your use of the same devices and be fully present when interacting with your kids.

If you want children to be thoughtful and kind, then you need to be the person you want the child to become.

Kids are like a sponge, absorbing everything you say and do.

They learn attitudes, behaviors, prejudices, likes, dislikes, compassion and generosity by watching the way you conduct yourself each day.

How you respond to problems, handle stress, frustrations, treat other people, and deal with responsibilities, loss, and mistakes will impact the lives behind the little eyes watching you.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

For most of my life, I have been a worrier.

If I Could Turn Back Time

When I was young, I worried if I would make any friends when my dad got transferred to another base.

As I grew older, I worried I would never get married and have kids. By the time I had children, I worried we wouldn’t be able to give them what they needed. And today, I worry because I taught my kids to worry.

Children are not only watching you, they are also listening to you.

The way you speak, what you speak, and the opinions you express all influence their values.

How you speak to your spouse, friends, neighbors and the clerk in the check-out line are all being filed away in their memory, only to be retrieved at a later date when they interact with others on their own.

· Do you model respect of others through your words and tone of voice?

· Do your words indicate respect for differences and tolerance towards others, or do they subtly support lack of acceptance for people different from yourself?

· Do you show forgiveness when it’s needed?

· Do you ask for forgiveness when it’s necessary?

“Kids will follow your example, instead of your advice.”

The watchful eyes of children pick up everything.

Their ears are listening, even when we whisper and their eyes are locked on us every moment, eagerly looking to us for guidance and inspiration.

“Let no man imagine that he has no influence.” ~Henry George.

It has been many years since those kids knocked on our front door, asking if my husband could come out and play, and I have often wondered who those boys grew up to be.

What Role Model Will You Be?

They had two role models to choose from back then. One example showed how to lead a busy life while the other showed the importance of living a life of relationship.

One thing I do know, is that by my husband’s example and guidance, our children have grown into compassionate, loving adults who learned how to live, not by my husband telling them how to live, but by watching their Dad do it.

Kids are watching us, and who we are shouts louder than anything we could ever say.

Remember the importance of being a positive role model because there is always someone looking up to you.

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