Regardless of where you are on your mama journey, my guess is you have daydreamed a time or two about your kids growing up and the path they will take. If you have a baby, you may wonder what he or she will be like. Will I send them to public school, what will the first day of kindergarten be like? And as they get older you begin to see their personalities come out and you picture what they will want to be when they grow up. Who will their friends be, how will I feel when they get behind the driver’s seat for the first time, where will they go to college? All of these thoughts dance around in my head from time to time, and they vary depending on which kid’s life is swirling around in my dreamer mind. Regardless, as they grow, we foster and support, teach and guide them into who they are becoming.
This brings me to my topic of today. What values and norms do you, the wise adult who’s been entrusted to raise these precious little people, want to establish, model and water while your kids are under your wing? Let me be clear, your values may differ from mine, and I’m not here to judge you, or tell you what yours should be, but what I’m getting to is the reality and reminder to check yourself and your values that you are, or are not, instilling in them. As you know, if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. If you have them, or establish them, are you watering these seeds that you want to see grow? No one else is going to do it for you. I’m not expecting it will be perfect, or that my kids won’t leave some of them behind, but I sure don’t want to regret NOT teaching them while I had the opportunity. These can be big or small, so I’ll give you an example of a few that we are working on. The character traits we value, we need to be intentional about tending to.
Serving others first, perseverance and work ethic, matter to me and my husband (among many others), so we decided early on that we wanted to be intentional about teaching and modeling these for our kids. We came up with a plan, not a set in stone written out itinerary for their lives kind of plan, but more of making it a day by day intentional priority to model, involve them, and talk about these values. Some days we are better than it than others, but it’s in our forefront daily. When we see a mama needing a hand with a little one, we get down and help or play with them. If someone needs a hand moving or lifting something, we are there. We take our kids with us and make them feel needed. Even if it’s just opening the door, or holding the tool, involve them and make them a part of it. If you’re making a meal for the mama of a newborn or for the new family who just moved in, involve your kids. Have them make the card, or crack the eggs in the brownie mix. We don’t always hit the mark and make the most of every opportunity, but when the opportunity arises, we know our values. If we miss it, we talk about what we could have done. Our kids have seen and heard it over and over again. I write reminders and encouraging notes around the house, and we reflect and talk about it. Words matter, so when you witness your kids practicing one, praise them for it. When my kids take initiative and do their daily chore without being reminded, I give that verbal praise. Not every single time, but when you want to grow something you water it, you acknowledge their efforts and their heart, and eventually, more times than not, it becomes a habit and ingrained in who they are.
Your kids are watching and listening, and learning on the daily!! Do we mess up? Yes, absolutely, but it’s how we get back up and start over when we do. Remember, character is more caught than taught, they’re learning your family rhythms moment my moment, day by day. We sought, and continue to seek, wise counsel from other families that we look up to in how they raised their kids, and we pick their brain, continuously! I read book after book and share the highlights with my husband, he now reads books too and shares the wisdom he gains. We have slogans, like, “We do our hard work first.” And, “We are Diersings, we can do hard things!” Another is, “What would Jesus do?” Take today’s reading as a moment to do a self-reflection as to what it is you value and are growing. Once again, if you don’t know your expectations and values, how do you expect your kids to know and grow?