"That's not nice. You shouldn't say that about people," I said.
"Why not?" she asked. "You do."
Ouch. She was right. I do say that. Granted, usually I'm saying it in a teasing manner, but I do say it. And that's where my daughter picked it up.
This blog is all about being intentional about the things we teach our kids, but sometimes our kids learn unintentional lessons from us, and they're not always the lessons we want them to learn.
So much of what our kids learn is caught rather than taught. They learn to deal with conflict and how to talk to and about others by watching and listening to us. Sometimes the lessons they learn aren't the ones that we would intentionally teach them. Sometimes the lessons they learn are actually ones we are deliberately trying not to teach them.
Little eyes are always watching us. If we want our kids to learn the lessons we want them to learn rather than the ones we don't, then we have to be aware of those little eyes.
No one is perfect. We're all going to screw up and say something we shouldn't or act in a way that we don't want our kids to act. The majority of the time, though, we want to be conscious of the fact that we're being watched. We want to give those little eyes an example to follow, and the only way we can do that is if we are following the best parenting example, God.
All the characteristics we want to embody as parents are found in our Heavenly Father. If we keep our eyes on Him, we are less likely to teach our kids the wrong things through our actions. If we are seeking to please God, then our kids will have an example to follow that looks more like God and less like us. We want to be able to say to our kids what Paul said to the Corinthians: "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Be aware of the unintentional lessons you're teaching your children. Keep your eyes on God, so the eyes watching you will see Him instead of you.