The video, Children See and Do by Child Friendly Australia shows children following their parents through their day and down dark paths to difficult lives. Our children are watching. Sometimes our actions are screaming so loud children cannot hear what we say. We can try to teach children with our words, but what we do will teach them more than anything we ever say.
Children see and children do
Now, look at the flip side. My daughter's husband always speaks to her with respect. He opens the door for her, pulls her chair out and uses absolute gentlemanly manners when escorting her. When he was not home, I watched her son open the door for her, pull her chair out and volunteer to help her over and over again.
Children see and children do
I once heard a pilot talk about mapping his course to a destination. He pointed out that in the air, if his plane turned even slightly to the left or right at the beginning of his journey he could end up in a whole different country.
Dieter Uchtdorf, past pilot and Senior Vice President for Lufthansa Airlines in Germany said, "Suppose you were to take off from an airport at the equator, intending to circumnavigate the globe, but your course was off by just one degree. By the time you returned to the same longitude, how far off course would you be? A few miles? A hundred miles? The answer might surprise you. An error of only one degree would put you almost 500 miles (800 km) off course, or one hour of flight for a jet."
We are the pilots of our children's lives. We plot their course from the very beginning. Every word and action that we say sends them in one direction or another. It is never too late to make a course correction and send our family in a better direction.
If we give our children positive examples we can teach them the values of kindness, honesty, compassion, healthy living and so much more. One of the best ways to teach our children or send them in a happy healthy direction is to head that way ourselves.
If you want to teach your children to keep their room clean
, then keep your own home clean. Tell your children that you love it when the house is clean. Let them see you smile when you do your household chores. If your favorite chore is laundry, let them know by the smile on your face.
If you want to teach your children not to fight with each other
begin by showing them how to be kind to each other. Treat everyone in your family with kindness and respect. The only name calling that should be happening in your home in front of your children should be honey, darling and sweetheart. Let your children see you and your spouse work through difficult issues respectfully.
If you want to teach your children manners
use the same words you want them to use, please and thank you. Open the door for them and help them carry their heavy load, so that they offer to do the same for you. Set the example and make it fun. There are many fun books on manners. Set the table like you would for company and have a family manners meal every once in a while. Practice manners while pretending to be royalty. Make it fun.
If you want to teach your children to be honest
always tell the truth. That means that if you are pulled over for speeding and the officer asks if you knew how fast you were going, you would have to tell him the truth and thank him for the ticket. If you find money, let your children see you attempt to return it to its rightful owner. Let your children see you pay honestly for services.
If you want to teach your children about God
go to church. You cannot send your children to church to learn about God while you stay home to watch football. They will look forward to the time they get to avoid church like the grown-ups do. Teach your children about church and higher values by studying and practicing them yourself.
If you want your children to love school and learning
continue to learn as an adult. When adults are excited about books, the news and current events children listen. If you share values based on hate and anger, that is what your children will learn. Watch current events in the news, read books and discuss television, news and entertainment with your family. Teach them about other cultures by discussing world events.
If you want your child to speak respectfully
to his elders speak respectfully to others. Every parent has said a bad word, only to hear their 2-year-old repeat it over and over. When you are in your car shouting obscenities at other motorists, who is strapped in a car seat in the back learning new words? We all get angry. Show your children how to be angry, without using foul language.
Remember we plot our children's course. Choose a destination for your child. Is that destination a happy family, education and healthy living? If it is, then do everything in your power to make those things happen for yourself and your children will join you on your journey. As you grow and heal, they will grow, heal and blossom into the same beautiful adult you are becoming.
Shannon Symonds, Author of Safe House due to be released July 2017 by Cedar Fort, has 15 years experience working as an Advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence while raising 6 children in Seaside Oregon. She loves to write, run and Laugh