The first time I remember hearing my daughter complain, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not because I didn’t expect it to come one day or that I was even remotely surprised. But because it was a time that I saw my worst self being depicted through her. At that moment, she perfectly mimicked me and it wasn’t a tiny ounce of cute.
She had become my own little puppet of negativity; and unknowingly, I was the puppet master. In a single instance, she used the same words, the same actions, the same emotions that she had heard and seen from me earlier that day. I thought, “this is what your kids see you do” and I was utterly embarrassed.
I hadn’t considered the little eyes that were watching me as I tossed something aside in aggravation. I didn’t see her listening while made a fuss about all the things I didn’t want to do. I didn’t think about how my actions would influence her– and me- in the future.
As many things as your kids shouldn’t see you do, there are definitely more things your kids should see you do. Think about what your emotions, your actions, and your attitude communicate to your kids. Remember, they’re like little ninja sponges, and they soak it all up before you even have a chance to second guess it.
This particular instance was something that she should have never seen me do. My kids shouldn’t have to deal with my lack of motivation or my on the spot overreactions. They shouldn’t have to deal with my attitude, my mood, or my emotions. They shouldn’t have to distinguish good and bad actions from my daily examples.
When I allow these things to enter my heart and come out in my actions, it doesn’t take much time for me to see them pick up these bad habits too. So for each time you do something that your kids shouldn’t see you do, make up for it by being proactive.
These are the things your kids should see you do.
This is the most powerful tool a Christian has in their arsenal. The ability to reach out to the Living God at any moment of every day, and know that He hears, He cares, and He understands. If you feel like you want to complain or yell or lament, pray.
I used to use naptime as my prayer time; uninterrupted and no distractions. But then I felt the Lord deal with me about how my kids need to see me praying, they need to hear me praying, they need to know, they need to learn, they need to do. If this is what they mimic, I’d be 100% okay with that.
Reading your Bible
What better way to learn about Christ than to delve into His word. When your children see you reading, studying, journaling, with/in your Bible consistently, they will notice. One of the easiest ways to spark my kid’s interest is to sit down and involved in something.
We bought our children Bible’s as soon as they were born. You know, the little tiny ones that come in pink, white or blue. But at the age of 5, Johannah started asking for her own Bible. It’s been one of the best purchases yet. When we read our Bibles in the afternoon, she does too, and she never forgets to bring hers to church.
There has been scientific evidence that smiling at someone brings joy. Let your kids see you be joyful. Let them know the joy of the Lord, the peace that we find in Him. Make it a necessary part of your day to find something to smile about. Smiles are contagious.
I don’t necessarily mean a profession, but let them see you hard at work cooking supper. Let them see you doing laundry, cleaning, being a homemaker, and taking pride in the work of your own hands. Show them how fresh laundry smells amazing, clean sheets make you feel good, and cooking yummy food is fun!
When they see you working hard, it shows them work ethic. When they see you taking pride in your work, it gives them a foundation. When they see you joyful in the mundane, they’ll know that the moments are special.
Raising Godly Kids: Devotions for Parents (Let’s Get Real)The Power of a Praying® ParentThe Power of a Praying® Mom: Powerful Prayers for You and Your ChildrenMy Prayer Journal: A 3 Month Guide To Prayer, Praise and Thanks
Show them love, but let them see you loving on people. Let them see the love you have for your husband. Let them see the compassion you have for the lost. Teach them the importance of showing love through both emotional and physical means.
Sometimes showing love is bringing in the trash for your neighbor, or cooking for a family who lost a loved one. Sometimes it’s paying a bill for someone in need, or volunteering your time in your community. Let them see the impact of Christ’s love through you.
Being thankful is such a simple, but overlooked task. Sometimes we can be so caught up in all the wrong and hurt that is going on around us, that we forget to take the time to be thankful for the things that are right in front of us.
Parents are the most influential people in their children’s lives. When your children see you being thankful, they begin to see things in a different light. Your words hold great weight in the hearts and minds of little ones. Make them count.
Taking a Moment
Look, sometimes mama even needs a timeout. Sometimes, we just need to take time to breathe. I’m just like you, I get overwhelmed, I get tired, I get annoyed, and sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me. It happens. That’s when I tell the kids, that I just need a moment.
Even as an adult, I just need a few minutes to collect myself, say a little prayer, and calm down. Let your kids know that it’s okay to be overwhelmed and to have emotions. But it’s also important to not let our emotions dictate our actions.
I really think mothers have the hardest job on the planet. I don’t just say that because I am one, I say that because I 100% believe it. Mamas are hard-core bosses. Somehow they manage to balance a husband, children, a home, and a life, and still remain pretty awesome.
I mean on a normal day, nothing catches fire, nobody dies, and you still have your sanity– for the most part. I consider that a success. But beyond just holding it together, or trying to make it seem that way, what other things should your kids see you doing?
Between wiping dirty bottoms and washing dirty clothes, have you ever considered the little eyes that are watching you? Have you thought about what they see, what they hear? Have you heard them repeating your own words and been awed? Have you seen them mimicking your daily tasks?
Look, I’m still not perfect. I often grumble under my breath and raise my voice. I still find myself moaning about mundane tasks. We’re flesh, we’re not perfect. But realizing our mistakes and taking hold of our actions is the first step to fix what we’ve screwed up. Don’t forget about the things your kids should see you do.