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Be an example

October 6th, 2008

On a rare occasion when I was cleaning up yesterday, I found a card written by my son in 2003. He was 15 years old at the time.

I was overwhelmed with gratitude as I read his words, written to Mom and Dad: “Thank you for always being there for me, being people I can trust, and for setting good examples for me.”

I am by no means a perfect parent. I am sure this same son who paid us those compliments can also cite countless ways I’ve fallen short.

However, two things have been a priority to me as a parent: being there, and being an example.

Being There

A child does not stay a child for very long. We only have 18 years at most to enjoy him, to build values into him, to teach him the important things of life. Even within those 18 years, much of the time is spent sleeping!

When my husband and I got married, we made a decision that I would be there at home when we have children. When our children started school, I volunteered at their schools as a room parent and on the PTA. My husband was in involved with my son’s Boy Scout troop and I with my daughter’s Girl Scouts.

Some call it a sacrifice to be a stay-at-home mom. It isn’t much of a sacrifice – it was fun! What can be better than to be with the children that I love?

Looking back now that my two older children are out of the house, I echo the truth of the parents before me who says that children grow up quickly. Twenty years raising my son has gone by too fast!

Knowing our financial state in today’s economy, a friend suggested I look at her company for job openings. I told her that I can only work part-time in the mornings. I still have my 13-year-old daughter at home, and I am going to give her all I’ve got!

Being An Example

It’s been said that values are caught, not taught. In daily life is how values are caught by our children.

Have you ever walked out of the store and realize the clerk missed an item? I had my daughter in the shopping cart when I saw the bag of potatoes that I didn’t pay for. “Do we have to go back, mom?” my daughter asked.

Honestly, I was tempted to take home my free potatoes and answered my daughter, “Naw, it was their fault they missed it. It’s too much trouble to go back.”

But is that what I want to teach my daughter?

Since I know I am setting an example for my children, having children has made me a better person. I am kept accountable to do the right thing. So, yes, we went back to pay for those potatoes!

And since I want to teach my children to do the right thing even when no one is looking, I also have to set an example of that. Even when my children are not looking, I am cognizant of my behavior.

This I think is the hardest, yet most important part of being a parent.

I said parenting is fun, but I didn’t say it was easy!

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  1. […] not need much materially. No matter what we have to deprive our children, make sure it’s not our attention, our affirmation, our support, and our hugs. […]


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