So much of what I think about goes back to my boys. It’s not just what I say or do in front of them but what I say and do all of the time. And it’s amazing to me what they pick up, what they hear and how they process things. Just when I think they won’t notice something, they do. And it seems the opposite is true, too. When I want them to pay attention, it can feel as if I’m invisible.
Yet, I know I’m not.
I have come to the conclusion that I will just never know when they are paying attention. Which is why I am constantly asking the questions “What impression am I leaving on them?” “What example am I setting?” And honestly, I don’t always like my answers. There are times each day when I think I could have done something differently, said something differently, which have helped me be a better parent. Not a perfect parent (do those even exist?!?!) but a better person, too.
But why do I ask myself about the impressions I’m leaving and the examples I’m setting? It’s because I am often times thinking about the two people I’m helping to raise or at least guide them some of their time in this world:
- How do I want them to act?
- What type of people do I want them to be, not only in front of me but when I’m not there?
How do I want them to be, even when no one is watching?
While I know that each of my boys is unique, some of their decisions will come from what they have seen and heard - what I do or don’t do.
- Who am I at home?
- Who am I when we are not home?
- How do I act?
- What do I say?
- Am I consistent? Or do I act one way at home and another somewhere else?
And to bring it to a closer context,
Do you open the door for someone because you want to or because you want to be seen opening the door?
Do you remind your kids to say thank you because it’s important they learn to be respectful of others or do you do it because you want to be heard reminding your kids?
It goes beyond just what you say to someone directly. It’s what you say, what you do - even when no one is watching.
It’s really hard to keep up a facade to appear to be something you are not. Sure, you can do it for a little bit, heck even a long bit. But it starts to take it’s toll. That’s why is so important to be true to who you are - not who you think others want you to be.
It’s being in alignment with yourself because you never know who’s watching.