As a parent I’ve always known the importance of being the example of how I want my children to treat others and themselves. What I “do” and how I treat others carries much more weight than what I “say” about how to treat others. Children are always watching, listening and observing. If I want my children to respect our beautiful earth, I must respect it.
If I want my children to have compassion for others, I must be compassionate.
If I want my children to love and honor themselves, I must love and honor myself.
I know my children are always learning from me so I try to be aware of the example I’m setting at all times. When I’m at a store, I’m respectful to the employees. I appreciate that they are helping me. I consider their time as valuable as mine. I don’t talk on my cell phone while a cashier is ringing up my items. If I’m on the phone, I will tell the person that I’ll call them back in a few minutes. I choose to be present with the person helping me.
If someone seems to be in a bad mood or is not very friendly, I smile and silently send them love. You never know why they are feeling like that or what they are going through. A smile can make a big difference in someone’s day.
As adults we usually treat each other with respect, but what about our children? I often hear stressed out parents barking orders at their kids, moving them out of the way rather than asking them to move and treating them in ways most people would never treat another adult. We tend to treat our family less formally than strangers, but that doesn’t make it okay to treat them with less respect.
Just the other day I was feeling a little irritated about a conversation I had with someone and was allowing myself time to be with my feelings instead of reacting. While processing my feelings I decided to go ask my children to help me with some household chores. My intention was just to ask them kindly to help me. They are very helpful and often do things without me even asking.
I thought I asked them kindly, but both of them felt I had a bit of an attitude. I knew I wasn’t upset with them so I denied it. My youngest daughter whom I call my wise soul, said that something must have been bothering me because my energy was off. Even though I wasn’t upset at them, they could feel my energy.
They were right; my feelings were unintentionally projected at them. So, I apologized. I have no problem telling my children “I’m sorry” if I am disrespectful towards them. Rather than beating myself up, I consider it a wonderful opportunity to teach them about taking responsibility for your actions. And I’ve had to teach this by example quite a few times. :)
I also want them to know that they don’t have to be “perfect.” We all do things we wish we had done differently, that’s a part of life. If you trust that everything happens for a reason, then you are able to forgive yourself, ask for forgiveness if necessary and move into the learning process.
How we treat our children carries as much weight, if not more, than how they see us treat others. Children tend to base their self worth on the messages they receive from their parents, family, friends and the world around them. It is so important to treat them with love and respect.
I want to share a poem with you that I first read over 20 years ago. It had a big impact on me because it made me realize the importance of my words and actions along with the environment I create at home for my family.
Children Learn What They LiveBy Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy. If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn patience. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect. If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them. If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
What are some of the values you model for your children? How do you feel about saying “I’m sorry” to your children?
Please share your comments below. I look forward to reading them!
Love & Happiness,