When my children are “grown up” as adults, I hope they are wise beyond their years, successful in every endeavor, and a leader in their community. I hope they are kind to others, joyful always, overflowing with compassion, and generous to all. I hope they find the love of their life and the passions of their heart, and never stop pursuing them. I hope they stand up for the weak, encourage the strong, and make ethical decisions. I hope my children are glowing with health physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We all have magnificent dreams for our children. When I reflect on those desires for my kids, I realize that I can play a monumental role simply because I am their parent. They observe, watch, scrutinize, mimic, and repeat my words, behaviors, habits, emotions, expressions, and lifestyle. I can can help craft those dreams into reality by being a worthy role model.

So, what kind of role model am I, and what kind of example do what I want set for my children?

 

Words

I remember that one time I said a “bad word” as a nanny, and I remember hearing that exact same word come out of the little girl’s mouth later that day. Oops! Kids are constantly expanding their vocabulary and listen to the language of others to do so. They hear what we say, how we say it, and associate it with body language. That is excellent when we are praising others or having fun with our friends, but probably not great when we are frustrated or angry.

Ask yourself:

Am I speaking positive or negative words in my home?

Do I use my words mainly to encourage others or to declare their mistakes?

What kind of television do I watch or what type of music do I listen to in front of my children and what message does it send to my child?

Behaviors and Habits

I choose to start every single day with exercise and quiet time. Doing so makes me physically feel better and treat other better throughout the day. Starting as a teenager I have consciously tried to think before I speak. In conversation, I aim to respond instead of react. I always wash the dishes after dinner. I set the TV remote control next to the television. I like the toilet paper to roll over instead of under. Some behaviors, like my mourning routine, can show my kids what is important to me. Others, like washing dishes, are simple habits that help life run more smoothly. Either way, I want my kids to use me as an example for the big and little behavior patterns that are an essential part of life.

Ask yourself:

My currently established habits include…(fill in the blank).

What habits would I like to display for my children?

Do any of my behaviors need to be modified?

What things do I do the same as my parents (such as how you hang your toilet paper!)?

Emotions and Expressions

When my inner dialogue consists of talking through my to-do list, I can tell I’m stressed. When all I want to do is cook a new recipe, I am feeling creative. When I miss someone, I get quiet and reserved. Emotional awareness and the expression of emotions are vital part of our well-being. Being able to define what we feel and why we feel it, plus expressing that in a healthy manner is another way to help yourself while also being a good role model to your little ones.

Ask yourself:

Do I know how to identify my inner emotions?

Am I able to express my feelings in a healthy way?

How do I emotionally respond to my kids when I’m happy? Frustrated? Angry? Annoyed?

Lifestyle

I choose to live a non-traditional life without the latest tech gadget or newest car or bigger house. I value home-cooked, nutritious meals and staying physically active. I like to save my money and spend it on traveling the world. I spend time with my friends at least once a week. I choose to be flexible when plans have to be modified. That a depiction of my lifestyle and what will be “normal” to my future kids. Your children get to travel through every season of life with you. What better way to help your kids dreams come true than to live your dreams with them!

Ask yourself:

What lifestyle am I leading? (stressed, rushed, lazy, selfish, etc.)

Am I pursuing my dreams?

If I could live the perfect life, it would look like…(fill in the blank!).

Reality and Dreams

Compare your current life with the one you pictured for your grown up kids. Are they similar or opposite? You have so much influence on your children through being who you are and living out your life. They will follow your lead in more ways than you can imagine!

Jana

Jana is the odd one out. Not a parent herself, she writes from the perspective of a young baby sitter. Experienced in making bedtime fun, she brings a unique perspective to parenting. She hopes that all she learns now will make the magic of being a parent just that extra bit special. She has no fixed address and is vagabonding around the globe, widening her world view.