Do you ever have the feeling that your are being watched? Well you are, by these little miniature people who kind of look like you. They are watching your every move, listening to every word even when you think you are alone. And that is not even the scariest part. No, the scariest part is when they reenact your life and you get to see yourself in a tiny mirror, for better or for worse.
My Mema has always said, little pictures have big ears. I would also add they have the most impeccable memory and mimicry skills. Even as a teacher I always tried to remember that children are always watching and whatever show I put on was one that might affect them later in life. With little eyes watching me closely and little ears listening intently I had better mind my P's and Q's. What are they seeing and hearing? What traits are they learning?
We can learn a lot about ourselves by watching how our children interact and treat one another. Putting on a good Mommy Show is harder than it looks. This isn't a tv show or a book with editors and rewrites, this is real life and there is no take 2. When my daughter snaps at her brother because she is losing patience with him I see myself. Or when my son loses his temper quickly, I see myself there too. I want to hang my head in shame in these situations, way to fail at parenting Ashley!
We would love to blame their unwanted behaviors on someone else. Although they do pick up annoying habits from other children, most of what they mirror is coming from us. Sorry, I wish I could sugar coat it but it doesn't work that way. Having the undivided attention of your children puts a lot of pressure on any mom. We all screw up and have not so great mommy days. Just as modeling good behavior is important, modeling how to apologize is equally vital. When you screw up let them see you apologizing and owning up to your mistakes.
Moms, dads, we are living examples for our children of what is right and what is wrong. A big problem we are dealing with in our house is the tone in which we speak. Now I will be the first one to raise my hand and stand shamefully in front of the class admitting to my failure in this area. I have a tendency to get frustrated, overwhelmed with life and I allow those emotions to affect how I speak to my children. Thank God for the little mirrors in my life! Lately, I have been constantly speaking to my daughter about how she talks to her brother. You are older, you have to be the good example, I wouldn't want to play with you either if you talked to me like that, etc. Then it dawned on me, where did she pick all this up from? Sigh. Me. Needless to say, after that light bulb went off I have been working hard to control my tongue and think before I speak. I am older, I should be a good example, and I want to be around someone who is kind not cranky! It is a tall order, believe me, but everyday I think I am getting better and more importantly, when I don't do so well I sit down and talk to my kids. Luckily, they are very forgiving and loveable little things!
With two pairs of eyes studying my every move I am trying to be mindful of what I say and do. I have been keeping these verses in mind:
“Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19
What do you see when you look in your mirror?