I remember when Kaitlyn was around 20 months old. Any time she was around my mom, she would push her sleeves up. As I observed this, I noticed that my mom is always pushing her sleeves up.
There have been so many things that my children have done that have starkly reminded me of what a strong influence the adults in a child's life have on the child. Younger children very much look up to siblings and will mimic behavior of siblings as well as parents and other adults.
There have been many times one of our children will start saying or doing some strange thing. I will analyze where they got it from. The nuances are so small that I don't even know if it is me or my husband who does it--but the child picked up on it.
Your example you show your child is so vitally important in teaching him how you want him to be.
One day, I noticed Brayden's prayers were getting pretty redundant. We aren't redundant, memorized prayers. We are prayers to try to keep our prayers sincere and relavant. I gently reminded Brayden that he shouldn't say the same thing for each prayer. What was his response? "You and Daddy do it!" Oops. I hadn't even realized we were doing that. The example you give has much more power than the words you speak.
You know the phrase "Do as I say, not as I do"? I have always hated that phrase--even as a child. You need to do as you want your child to do. Clean the way you want your child to clean. If you want him to be cheerful about chores, you be cheerful about chores. Speak the way you want your child to speak. Do you want him to be respectful? Then you be respectful. Exercise, volunteer, read, study scriptures, help others, be kind, spend time wisely, etc...it all comes back to you.
As you make goals for how you want your children to turn out, evaluate yourself and ask yourself, "Am I that person?" I remember in college some guys saying "You gotta be what you wanna pull." By that, they meant they needed to be the type of person they wanted to marry. The same applies to raising children. But don't despair! I am sure we all want more for our children than we are today. Make the effort to be that person, and your child will notice.
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