I have learned from my kids that I cannot just tell them not to do certain things and then turn around and do that same thing myself.. Children learn from example. If they see me doing certain things and telling them not to, they tend to question and figure if it is good enough for mom then it is good enough for me. It is another thing to model the things that you are telling your children. This can weigh very heavily when teaching them.
My children have taught me that material things are not everything. There would be times that I would tell my children I honestly did not have the money for something. They did not pout or cry, they seemingly understood. In fact, they took it better than I had ever anticipated. I explained to them that I was doing the best I could and that they could always count on me.
My children taught me that promises are important. They never forget. I recall telling my children something I would never do. Anyway, one of my children brought it to my attention that I did just the opposite. Therefore, I realized, I should make sure I do what I say I am going to do. It helped me realize my word is my bond. It helped me realize my word determines a lot about my character. Another incident was when my daughter was in emergency at the hospital. Her father came to see her and said he was leaving, but would be back. She started screaming at him, “Don’t tell that lie, you know you are not coming back.” “You always lie.” She felt that he had not kept promises that he had made to her in the past. This was a revelation for me too.
I have learned from my kids that some of my teachings about standing up for principles did impact their lives for the better. My youngest daughter told me of an incident at school, where the children were teasing this girl about the father murdering the mother. I thought this was just not acceptable. She said she could not hold her peace and defended the girl. I told her I was so proud of her that she did not turn her head and do nothing. She did the right thing. This is a good feeling to know. Strangely enough, it turned out that I knew the girl’s mother and father, which made it more personal for me.
You can attempt to install values in your children, but they still have their own minds and will make their own decisions in the end. For example, I had one child that refused to wear clothes from the goodwill. If she knew, it was from the goodwill she did not want it. Even though I explained during that time, it would save money. I wore clothing from the goodwill as well. Even though she refused to wear clothes from the goodwill, I eventually saved nametags from other stores and put them on the goodwill items and she never knew the difference at that time. This just showed me, her perception of the goodwill was totally different from mine. Somehow she thought goodwill clothing was less than. However, I disagreed with that, because I have seen friends that buy from the goodwill. To look at their outfits you would never know. In addition, you can find almost new clothing at the goodwill at times.
I learned that my children were very social. I had four girls. When we went to different events, they would want their friends to go also. I had no problem with that. They seemingly always wanted their friends over to spend a night. That was fine with me, because I knew where they were. In addition, I could see their interactions with their friends. I learned from their friends as well. I remember one morning fixing breakfast for them. My children loved scrambled eggs. I assumed their friend did too. She told me, “I do not like this; my daddy makes the eggs with that yellow stuff running out.” She was speaking about eggs over easy.
I learned my children are not perfect and even though I taught them what is right, there is no guarantee how they will act in public. I recall and incident with my oldest daughter while in high school. I received a call from the teacher on my answering machine. He requested me to call him. I asked my child about it. The only reply I received from her was, “I do not know what he is talking about.” “I hate that teacher.” Therefore, I scheduled a meeting with the teacher, my daughter, and me. He explained that my daughter would take over his classroom talking and laughing, that he could not get a word in. Therefore, I politely told my daughter in front of him, “You are entitled to your feelings; you do not have to like this teacher.” “But this is his classroom.” “I expect you to give him his respect and be quiet in the classroom.” I gave him my work and home phone and told him to call me at anytime if there were any more problems. Well, there were no more problems of that type, but she continued to profess her hatred for that teacher. I told her that was okay. We will not like everybody. Not everybody might like us either. It was surprising to me to receive that call from the teacher, because although my daughter was very social and talkative at home, I never expected it to overflow in school in this way.
I learned that just as we as parents are not always honest that my children were not always honest. My one daughter told me after she was out of school that all the times she stayed home saying she was sick, she did not want to go, because someone wanted to fight her. This was surprising to me, because I did not have a clue that this was occurring. I am thankful for my lessons learned from my kids. What lessons have you learned?