Just the other day, my youngest son, Crewe, asked me if he could have the same job that I have when he grew up. Jokingly, I said I wasn’t sure if he really wanted to do what I do. He chewed on this thought for a little while, and I could hear the wheels turning. He looked up at me and said, “Well, then could I still wear a suit like you?” Seeing where this was going, I nodded, rubbed his head, and said, “Of course, if your job allows you to wear to one.” Again, I could hear the wheels turning and then he decided. “Good, then I’m going to be a scientist who wears a suit!”
I love the way my kids think. I love their innocence. I love that they look at me and wonder what it would be like to be–not just an adult–but to be me. Then it hit me.
My kids want to be like me! Wow. Quick, what all have I said that was stupid parenting in the last 12 years? What have I taught them about what a man is? What have I taught my daughter about what kind of man she should be looking for when the time comes, and how should she expect to be treated? Then the clincher: How have they seen me treat their mom so that they will know what a healthy marriage is supposed to look like?
Guys, this is a question that we must ask ourselves and then use the answer as a guide to how we live our lives. It may mean that we have to make a few changes. If you know you have a bad habit or two, then it’s time to let your kids see that you changed. It is powerful for kids to witness and remember the day you started or the day you stopped.
My wife swears that neither she nor the kids were ever sarcastic. She claims that is a trait that everyone has caught from me. Of course that’s just crazy-talk. I’m not sarcastic. Well, not enough for the kids to have become sarcastic. Okay, not enough to have changed her into a classic reverse-questioning type. Really?
Okay, so perhaps that one is on me. Maybe I’m guilty on that one.
But you know what else they have caught? My oldest son, Caeden, tells me he missed me that day when I get home from work. He still hugs me. My daughter, Michaela, is as sarcastic as it comes, but she also became a morning person like me. We tell each other goodbye in the morning, and we still tell each other “I love you” as I leave. Crewe has become the family clown. His jokes and mannerisms are me. He gives great hugs, and he still likes to be the one who prays at dinner.
We all still pray at dinner, and we pray at night before bed. I love that.
But, there’s more. Caeden caught my repressed anger side as well. I don’t blow up. I hold it in. I swallow it. I’ve caught him silent screaming (sometimes not-so quietly) in his closet. Crewe is pretty sensitive. He gets his feelings hurt pretty easily, and isnt’ sure how to handle those emotions.
I still have work to do. I still have a lot to teach my boys and girl. I have to try to keep setting a better example.
- Love their mom like crazy
- Be consistent in everything
- Love them like crazy
- Give them life-lessons
- Keep praying with them
- Let them see me cry
- Show them the difference between a boy and a man
What about you? What are you working on? How is it working?