My dad had this amazing ability to teach anybody anything. He couldn’t swim himself, in fact he wouldn’t even go in the water, but he taught me to swim. He never played a day of tennis, yet he went to the court and helped a friend of the family improve their game.
We all learn by observation whether we know it or not. My dad, simply chose to do this consciously in his life, so by watching others ‘do’ he was able to teach.
Kids learn by watching us ‘do’. They are like sponges, absorbing every good and not so good habit, tic and idiosyncrasy we possess.
We can use this sponge-like-dynamic to our advantage by consciously modeling how we want our children to live in the world and who we hope for them to be.
Here are five behaviors to model, each of which are behaviors that will help your child to become a great person.
Gratitude – When we appreciate what we have and those who are in our lives we teach our children to do the same. If all your child hears is you complaining about what you don’t have, or about the ways in which loved ones drive you crazy, your child sees this as the way to live life. If you want your child to be grateful for all that he has and for those that are in his life, he needs to see that in you
Respect – Respect is earned, not demanded and that’s true no matter how old we are. Some people think simply because they are the parent that respect should be automatic, but that only works if you rule by fear and control and then what you have isn’t really respect, it’s fear. If you want to develop a healthy relationship with your child and you want them to both respect you and others, you need to demonstrate that level of respect to those around you, including your child.
Awareness – We can be aware of others and we can also be self-aware. Both are great attributes to have and to help your child develop. In our day-to-day lives we can demonstrate awareness by paying attention to our surroundings, by acknowledging the needs of others and by acknowledging what is happening personally.
Sharing –Teach your child to share by sharing yourself. I started ‘sharing’ with Caidin when he was very little. If he wanted something I had, ‘I’d say, I would like to share this with you.’ He quickly learned to say ‘I share’ and give me part of what he had, which was so sweet. The more we have an openness to share, the more we teach our children that there is no ‘lack’.
Flexibility – When we demonstrate the ability to shift and move we teach our children to go with the flow, a life-tool, that I feel, ranks up there as one of the most important. If our children see us fuss and fret over the unexpected, or panic when things don’t go as planned, we teach them that this is the expected response. If we can develop the ability to be flexible, our children will learn that when life is unpredictable, flexibility is what helps us navigate with greater ease.
In short, whatever behavior we want our child to demonstrate, we have to be right there demonstrating it first. They will always be looking to us for cues and insight into how to live their lives.
Where Gandhi said “be the change you want to see in the world,” I say “be the person you want your child to be in the world.”
© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.