Role modeling is one of the cornerstones of good parenting. For mothers, like some of you and me, our values are reflected not only in our behavior but also in our appearance. These values are communicated every day and in every way to our children.
Sound overwhelming? Well, it certainly is. The responsibility and worry if “this” regrettable action or “that” cross word is going to result in a “ruined” child. Well, it doesn’t work that way. So stop your worrying because you don’t need to be perfect to raise healthy daughters and sons. You don’t have to look perfect or act perfect or be perfect. In fact, trying to be too perfect may result in a child who just never feels good enough and suffers in another way.
It’s really about the core values we want to impart to our children. In today’s fast paced world, where the choices for just about everything are just about limitless, we tend to think more about the décor of the nursery than we do about the values we want to give to that little person who will occupy the crib.
How many of us have sat down and really thought about what lessons we want to teach our children daughters? Most of us haven’t, but I think we would benefit if we did.
Please, make a list. Share that list with others (especially our readers).
What would you put on that list? Develop trust, loyalty, or respect? Seek wealth, fame, or fortune? Work towards scholastic achievement, athletic achievement, or social skills? There is no one right answer. No one has all the answers.
This exercise is a most personal journey. But if you have made the decision to make life’s journey with another human being, your child, I believe it is your duty to impart the values and ideals you believe in.
Whenever I fret about how I have handled a situation (usually one that turns out less than optimally), I use the image of life as a road. Not very original, but this has been very helpful to me as I forged my way from young mother to now superfluous (or so they think), annoying mother, who calls/texts/emails them too often in their now independent lives.
We are all on this road together. My husband and I decided early that our religious lives, our family lives, our vacation lives, and our school for them/work for me lives were most important. When they were younger, they could wander a bit from the straight and narrow path we would have liked them to follow. But they could not wander enough so as to go off the road. If they did they would end up in a ditch. And when you are young, it isn’t easy getting out of a ditch by yourself. Lessons would be learned, sometimes the hard way.
And as they got older, it was harder for us to keep them near the center of the road. But by then they would have already learned that there are still boundaries that would take them off the road. If you are confident in your boundaries and you are confident in your map making skills, your children will feel secure to explore but will not fall off of the edge of your world, which has become, in great part, their world.
So, if once in a while, as you are going down this road, you might make a wrong turn. Figure it out and get back to the path that you set out on. And while you are on this journey, behave the way you want your child to behave. Take the time and the effort to care for your body, mind and soul the way you want him or her to do so. Be realistic as to what you can control and what is left up to fate—give yourself some slack. But remember, that from the moment that child is born, he/she is looking at you to lead the way. So lead knowing that no leader is perfect. We just have to be good enough.