This past weekend, my family and I went camping in Asheville, North Carolina. We found an idyllic campsite situated between a lake and a stream and the comings and goings of the various families of geese and ducks certainly kept us well entertained all weekend. Turns out, mother goose wakes up nice and early. This might have been an annoyance had it not been for the fact that it was so fascinating to watch her teaching her offspring how to fend for themselves. I realized that this mother goose and her family provided a great example of one of the most important aspects of parenting: modeling the behavior and life skills that we want our children to develop.
Inspired by Mother Goose, I reflected on the life skills I am modeling for my children. Although I am happy to congratulate myself for the emergent life skills I am proud that my children are developing, I had to be honest and realized that there were a couple of behaviors that I saw reflected back to me indicating I have some work to do on the modeling front.
For instance, I thought about my soon-to-be 12-year-old daughter and the fact that as far as she is concerned, I seem to be the cause of any area of strife in her life. Something is missing, surely I moved it. We are running late, why didn't I wake her up earlier? Bad hair day, I haven't scheduled a hair cut. The list goes on.
Although I could sit here and say that is normal pre-teen behavior, I had to honestly acknowledge that she has picked up something that I have modeled. For example, when the Internet goes down while I am working on a deadline, my first reaction is to call out to my husband. As if by magic, he is the only one who can fix it. The reality is that he is just as inconvenienced by the event as I am and will have to stop what he is doing and come and reset it, when I can just as easily make that happen. I would certainly prefer this not to be the case and am embarrassed to admit that she has picked up a behavior that I have modeled.
I also realize it is certainly better for me to notice it now and to start to model a more positive example. So, this summer I am going to be make it a point to be more aware of the subtle things that I am modeling for my children. I am looking forward to seeing what difference it makes and I am sure my husband is as well.