I don't know how many times when I was growing up that I swore that I would never say things, or do things like my mom. Like when she would lick her finger and then smooth down my hair or get a smudge off my face, I vowed I would NEVER EVER do that to my children. Now, as a mother of three I am constantly dosing my kids in my spit, or "love juice" as I like to call it, to clean their face or smooth down J's cowlick. The very things we hated as children, we have adopted to doing as adults. This got me to thinking, What am I doing now that my children will model later?...whether they want to or not.
I heard a story once about a young wife that every time she bought and cooked a whole chicken she would cut off both legs and put them neatly in the freezer before cooking the rest. After many times of doing this, she picked up the phone and called her mother:
"Mom, I was wondering...I cut off the legs of the chicken and put them in the freezer just like you used to, but I'm wondering what do we do with the chicken legs later?"
Her mom replied, "I don't know why YOU cut off your chicken legs, but I always did because my pot wasn't big enough!"
Another example, that really led me to think about all this, was when K looked at J and said, "Now,Then." I asked her to repeat it, because it sounded familiar to me. "Now, Then." she repeated, and added, "Grandmother says it all the time." The funny thing is that MY Granny used to say this all the time. Of course, her version sounded more like, "Nayow thayen" and she would say it as to communicate, "Every thing's ok now," or "Ok, you're all fixed up." Perhaps a southern thing or perhaps just a family thing, but I have even noticed myself using this phrase that really doesn't make much sense at all, and obviously my mom says it too.
I wonder...what am I doing that is creating a lasting impression or habit onto my children just from being around it? Am I kind with my words, or do I yell too much? Am I patient, or always frustrated? Do I show kindness to others, or do I walk away because I am too busy? Do I spend my idle time doing good things, or doing things that aren't good?
Little sponges, soaking up everything we say and do. What kind of model am I being to them? That's a little dose of reality that will make you think twice the next time you are about to yell at the slow moving car in front of you. And the truth is, it isn't just the kids that are listening...God can see and hear me ALL of the time....Am I living in a way that is honoring to him? I find myself now thinking I might need to spend the rest of the day in prayer and solitude begging for forgiveness because I know most days I lose my patience, yell some, get frustrated, and am often too busy for others, even though I really don't mean to at all.