Saturday, December 19, 2009

Leading By Example

The Holiday season is quickly approaching. Unfortunately, the stereotypical mad-rush of this time of year does not always bring out the best in people. Not only now, but throughout the year as parents we must remember to take a step back and reexamine our lives for the sake of our children. Are you rushing from place to place? Are you so busy you barely have time to think within your own head let alone have a meaningful conversation with your child; one where you actually listen to what your child is saying? What examples are setting on a daily basis for your children? Do you lead with a kind heart and gentle soul or do you bark orders and talk in a loud voice more times than not?

The most important thing to remember about parenting your children is that they learn by example.

Children emulate what they see at home, at school, in their community and on TV. Please ALWAYS keep that in mind. In my own home I have gone so far as to turn off the TV, change the channel, or mute the sound when a commercial or program came on that was not appropriate for the kind hearts of my children.

Do you respect your children? No, I mean honestly and truly respect them. What tone do you use when speaking to them? Do you talk on their level or above them? Try getting down on your knees and look them in the eye next time you need to talk to them or they want to tell you something. Not only are you showing them respect but you are teaching them that what they have to say and what you are telling them is important. And it goes without saying, please always talk to your children in a respectful tone. You will be repaid a million times over when they in turn talk to you in a kind respectful tone.

Kind actions in children include some of the following activities:

* sharing toys
* volunteering to help a neighbor in need
* comforting a baby doll
* offering to help around the house
* comforting a sad or injured sibling

How and where are children learning these things though? At home!!!

Everyday parents lead, teach, and set examples for their children. Shepherding a kind child’s heart is definitely a “do as I do” situation. Simply talking about what children should do is not enough. You need to get your hands dirty and jump in to show them how to do it. Do you walk over to a neighbors house and shovel their snow simply because you see it needs to be done? Or do you turn a blind eye? How about in the grocery store, do you help an elderly person with an item high up on a shelf simply because you see they need help? If you don’t, well then friend you should because your children are watching.

In my own life I have gone so far as to tell my 3rd grader what to say to an adult that helped my son in Boy Scouts. I knew that simply telling my son to go say thank you wasn’t enough for that situation. I told my son what to say and why he needed to say those words. Now next time, he will put his own spin on the thank you but the lesson has been learned and a foundation of respect and thankfulness for elders have been fertilized.

In subsequent postings I will discuss lessons you can teach you children throughout the ages.

Please always remember your children are watching and listening to you. What they see and hear is what they will later do and say!

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