The other day, before the early morning rush, I read a quote in my early morning Facebook perusal on how children learn best from the way we act.
After reading it, I stopped and pondered what that meant and if it were true and then went about my day. Little did I know that before the morning was over, this thought would become very useful.
I don’t know how breakfast is at your house, but ours is a pell-mell dash till our scheduled departure time.
It began with helping my oldest, then changing my baby’s diaper, waking up 2 of his siblings, pouring cereal for the baby, putting bread in the toaster, and pouring cereal again for the preschooler. As I waited for the elementary school kids to find their shoes and put on their backpacks, I realized my preschooler was gone, a panic moment, for sure. I checked outside first. Sure enough I found her, in the front passenger seat of our car. For some reason, she had decided it would be a good idea to eat her breakfast there. Unfortunately, it had spilled all over and she was clearly upset and trying to figure out what to do.
Now, she knows not to go outside without asking, that food is supposed to stay in the kitchen and that when we spill our food, we immediately get a towel so we can clean it up. My first instinct was to get upset, teach her a lesson with some sort of consequence or lecture that would help her know never to do this again, but then, thankfully, I paused and when I did, the quote from earlier came into my mind.
“One of the most important things we adults can do for young children is to model the kind of person we would like them to be.” -Carol B. Hillman
I realized this situation wasn’t about teaching her a lesson about never going outside without asking, or never taking her food out of the kitchen or even about quickly cleaning up messes. This lesson was how we should react when someone does something they regret and the best way she would learn this was by watching me.
I still have no idea why she thought it would be a good idea to eat her cereal in the car, but clearly she knew now- this was not a good idea.
I gave her a hug, we went inside and got paper towels to clean it up. We calmly talked about why we don’t go outside without telling mommy and she was good to go, and so was I.
For me, this is why continuing education is important for moms.
Because a thought, a sentence, sometimes one simple word can change our natures and help us to become more of the person we want to be and more like the moms our children need us to be.