Children see, children do

Every now and then I come across something that makes me stop in my tracks and take a look at what I’m REALLY teaching my daughter. I know what I want to teach her. I know the qualities that I would like for her to demonstrate. Then there is the matter of having her properly groomed and given the appropriate dose of daily vegetables. Don’t even get me started on all of the chemicals, dangers and bad language I want to shield her from. There is so much out there today! It can leave a mom exhausted just from being the human filter for her child! Not to mention the other responsibilities at work, home, church, community. We’ve been given a fantastic and often seeming overwhelming responsibility to raise little ones to be who God called them to be.

But tired or not, there’s something I’ve got to keep in mind: whether I am being intentional in my teaching or not, my daughter is learning something from me every day. While catching up on Facebook the other day, I watched this video that a friend had posted. It reminded me that I have a daily choice of what I will teach her. There are so many things I want her to learn and then there are many things I don’t want her to pick up on. For instance, I hope she will share my love for music, God, and photography. I hope she won’t display my tendency for procrastination or be as domestically challenged as I am when it comes to running a clean organized home… But unfortunately she doesn’t discriminate on what she imitates.

One thing I know is that God has called me to be particularly aware of what she is learning from me about what it means to be a wife. She is watching how I communicate with my husband. She is aware of my tone of voice with him, things I do or don’t do for him. How we argue when we disagree about something. Do we fight fair? She sees whether or not we are united front in parenting. When I respect him, she imitates. When I am disrespectful, she imitates. She’s very aware of the way I greet him when we see each other. Do I stop what I’m doing long enough to give him a kiss and a hug? Do I ask him about his day and then stick around long enough to hear his answer? Or do I pass the parenting baton over at the door as I rush on with the rest of my day. I’d love to say that I always make the right choice but I don’t. But right choice or not, she’s watching.

So what choice are you making? Will you choose to teach your child that being married is a gift from God that is to be enjoyed? Or will you teach your child that marriage is a constant battle and rarely fun. Good marriages take hard work, planning, and a huge amount of love and compassion toward the other person. You will not always make the best choices. There will be arguments and failures to communicate. But remember, the good, the bad, and the ugly…our children are watching you to know what marriage is all about. My hope is that they will want what you have.

Digging deeper:

1. Based on your marriage, do you think your child will want to marry someday? Why or why not?

2. If your marriage hasn’t exactly been a positive advertisement for marriage, don’t beat yourself up! Start making the change today by asking God and your spouse for forgiveness on this. Then move forward trusting God to give you what you need to be a better spouse going forward.

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