As a child my parents had the Children Learn What They Live poem on our refrigerator. I can remember looking at it even before I could read and asking them what it said. I can vaguely recall children carrying balloons pictured around the words.
When I became a young adult in my twenties I worked in youth development and taught educators how important it was to lead by example. I worked with teens for the most part and if me or one of my colleagues didn’t walk the walk they were quick to call us on it.
Now in my thirties, I’m a mom to a threenager. These past three years have been such a wake up call. Children are ALWAYS watching us. And while it sounds cliche they really pay more attention to what we do than what we say.
Most days I wake up before JustaBXgirl. When she wakes in the morning I sing to her and tell her rise and shine. On days that she wakes up first she sits next to me and sings rise and shine. I randomly tell her throughout the day that I love her. Randomly she will call for my attention and when I respond she will tell me that she loves me very much.
When she loses her patience she huffs like I do. She will regularly tell me when I am frustrating her and occasionally uses the same disciplinary tone with her toys that I use with her. When she catches me trying to sneak soda she makes it a point to tell me how bad it is for me. When I scream she tells me to settle down.
At times watching her is like looking into a funhouse mirror and seeing a smaller version of myself. At times I completely love it and at times it completely scares me. Just the other day she reminded me that it’s not always just words that they notice.
JustaBXgirl loves temporary tattoos. She found one randomly around the house the other day and asked me to help her put it on. Sidenote: she’s mastered putting them on by herself if someone turns the water on for her. When I asked where she wanted it she looked thoughtful for a moment then grabbed my wrists. She wanted to see which wrist had a tattoo so she could have her’s placed the same.
This was different. Normally she wants them up and down her arm. I don’t know if it was because the shape and color of her tattoo reminded her of mine or if she was just looking for a way to bond for the day. Either way it was a great reminder that she notices not only what I say but what I do and who I am.
Thank you JustaBXgirl for a subtle reminder to always remember you see, listen and become what I do, say and act on. I will always work to be better tomorrow than I am today and I owe that to you.