When my twin girls were toddlers, a friend minded them one evening for me. She later relayed a funny moment. When the girls went upstairs to bed, it was noted that dolly had fallen off the edge of the bed and was on the floor. Twin 2, quite indignant with hands on hips, told my friend, “I told teddy to look after her but clearly he wasn’t listening”.
My friend held back the intense laughter she felt as the situation called for her to be appropriately disappointed in teddy’s misdemeanour. She marvelled at how much like me my little girl sounded. Only a toddler and yet already so much like her mother.
Countless times have my 3 (now teen) daughters spoken words that have once come from my mouth and responded in ways that are a reflection of what I’ve done. There are plenty of times when that has made me a seriously proud mum but there are times when I have just cringed, realising that the language or behaviour I was correcting in them, had actually come directly from me.
Just recently one of them said as much…”but mum, that’s want you do”. Ouch! How can I expect my daughters to believe me when I tell them to dress to flatter, that they look good but their heart is more important, when they hear me sound self critical and dissatisfied by what I see in my own mirror.
As mums we have great intentions of teaching our children the things they need to know to be the best they can be. As we set about teaching them, what we can miss is that they are learning a whole lot of lessons from how we do life ourselves.
Our children are little sponges, soaking up not just what we teach but, more often the way we live.
So STOP, in the name of love, those words and behaviours we don’t want to see develop in our children’s lives. We can do ourselves a big favour by embracing some essential character traits…. real love, authenticity, a good dose of humility and indispensable forgiveness. Our children will be better for it and, I dare say, so will we.
MOPS Australia Board Chair
Real mum who knows there’s a song lyric for every occasion!