The other day, I was rushing out the door and needed to grab something quick to eat because I was hungry but needed to get to a meeting with a local client. As I was just out the door, I reached for an apple. For a split second, I deliberated. Little One and I had been baking brownies to give to friends and I contemplated on grabbing a brownie, but went for the apple.
Little One came up behind me and surprised me. “Mommy, I noticed you went for the apple! That’s a good choice!”
I’m not sure if she really knows the what she meant by “that’s a good choice”. She’s six! Did she mean, “apples are delicious and that’s a good choice?” or did she mean “an apple is a better choice than a brownie”?
Later on that day…
I was trying to open up a mason jar that contained my homemade vanilla. The lid was so tightly sealed that I accidentally let out an “ARRRGH! This stupid jar won’t open!!!”
I don’t normally swear (at least not in front of the kid), and she gasped. She immediately said, “Oh! Mommy! You said a BAD word!!!”
Not realizing what I had said, I replied, “Really?! What did I say?”
Little One was shocked and said, “Oh, I can’t say. It was a BAD word.”
Hubby, Little One and I sat down to enjoy a bit of family time and watched a rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Hubby and I were howling at the sight of some unsuspecting victims of practical jokes. One man was so startled that he stumbled and hurt himself. It was slapstick humour and we were laughing so hard that we were almost in tears.
Little One frowned. Then she scowled at us and said, “Mommy! Daddy! You should never laugh at someone when they get hurt!”
Still in near tears, we stopped laughing.
“Yes, you’re right, [insert Little One’s real name here]. It isn’t nice to laugh at others when they are hurt. Thank you for reminding us.”
The moral of the story? Parents, be careful of what you say and do, because your little ones are always watching.
Did you know that you are being watched?
Children learn by example. Regardless of whether it’s observing what food you eat, or choice of words you use, or even how you treat others, you are being watched! If children see parents treating others poorly, perhaps they will think that behaviour is acceptable. It’s not.
In light of all the tragic events that have taken place recently, I often wonder what kind of role models certain people are for their children. It makes me sad to think that some children may grow up to believe that hurting others is fine and that for some reason they are justified in causing others to feel pain. Hurting others (physically, verbally, emotionally, or psychologically) is never okay. Some things I will never understand.
There are so many aspects about being a parent that I am still learning about. One thing is for sure though — I want to raise a child who is loving, caring, compassionate, curious, intelligent, and so much more. Above all else, I want to raise a child who is empathetic and who knows how to treat others.
Oftentimes, I think children teach us how to be better people. Well, for most people, at least.