We all know how important it is to model good values to our children.
This month we will take a look at three specific healthy behaviors that we would like to model.
Being responsible is staying true to our word.
Imagine that you tell your daughter that you are planning to pick up a certain specific pink birthday cake that she really wants for her birthday celebration tonight.
While she is in school, you get a call that your grandmother is in the hospital. You need to go visit her. As much as you want to keep your word to your daughter, you know that visiting your grandmother is the right thing to choose.
When your daughter comes home and starts crying that you did not get the birthday cake for her, you can still show your commitment to being responsible. You can say, “I feel terrible, I got a call from Grandma asking me to come to the hospital. I knew it was the right thing to do. I needed to go visit her. This is how I’m planning to make it up to you….” And you can do something else in lieu of the cake that is cute, or fun, or creative.
We do not want our children to come back to us and say, “But you said you would, and you have to….” That would not be respectful. We just want to model for them that we, on our own, are thinking of how to stay true to our word.
Being Kind and Caring
We want to model to our children that we care about people’s feelings. We care about meeting people’s needs and we are warm and compassionate people. We cannot expect our children to be kind to siblings and friends unless they see that we live by that core value.
Accepting Life on Life’s Terms
This one is hard. We want to model accepting life on life’s terms. That means we recognize that in life there are two categories of events: a) the things that we can control, and b) the things that we cannot control. Of course we want to teach our children that they should put a lot of energy into what they can control. This should not be done with negative emotional energy, but rather with positive energy directed at making good choices.
Then there are all the things that we cannot control in our lives. There are certain parts of our health that we can control, and certain parts that we cannot control. There are certain parts of our relationships that we can control and there are the other people’s opinions, ideas, behaviors, and moods that we cannot control.
We want to show our children that we are accepting life on life’s terms. We are completely accepting of the things in our lives we are not able to control, and we are not fighting them. We do having feelings about them – we may feel sad, but we know that our sadness is okay. We recognize that this is what life is delivering me right now, and I am 100 percent okay 100 percent of the time.
If they see you going about your life that way, they are much more likely to deal with disappointments in the same way. If, for example, when you cannot find a parking spot, your children see you get all agitated and yell at them, they might be thinking that it’s right to only be in a good mood if things go your way. But if when you cannot find a parking spot, you say, “Okay, well this is frustrating,” and you continue looking they will see that you are accepting this challenge even if, say, you have an appointment to get to. From this they will learn that disappointments are okay. We feel and honor our feelings, and then we are 100 percent okay.
There are so many more values that we want to be modeling, so stay tuned for Part Two next month.