Happy Mommy Monday! When I have done Q & A or asked what topics you’d like to hear on, there have been multiple replies asking in some way or another about how we create and set “values.” So, to the best of my ability as a first time mom, I wanted to share what we are doing to HOPEFULLY set standards, home culture, and values for Knox. I obviously am a first time mom with an 18 month old, so everything we are doing is with the hopes of instilling in Knox characteristics we want him to have. We clearly aren’t experts nor are we able to speak from experience with a grown, well-mannered child. But, I can speak to where we are at and what is working for us!
Train up a child in the way he should grow. Proverbs 22:6
Growing up, my mom had these cassette tapes I listened to at night called the Fumbly Bumbly Angels. It was all about an angel learning life lessons, and one of the songs I can STILL SING from those tapes is this one: “Train up a child in the way he should grow. Train up a child in the way he should grow. And even when he is old, when he is old, he will not depaaaaart from it!” Aw, how sweet. But… now as a mom myself, and if you are a parent reading this then I am sure you can connect with me when I say, “HOW THE HECK DO I DO THAT?!” How do I train up a child in the way he should grow, meaning with faith in Jesus and thus living a life pleasing to God? And, let’s be real, being a generally great and successful human would be nice, too. I would take that. HA. It seems overwhelming if you look at the big picture. When I was getting closer to my due date with Knox, I found myself freaking out about the simple things like “Wait, I am supposed to teach this kid how to walk and talk?!” And people assured me that it just happens by talking to them and walking around them. Turns out, they were right. I also found myself worrying at all hours of the night about how the heck you teach a child to value the right things, be kind, love God, love the church, love their parents, scratch my back and play with my hair… Ok, the last two are just fluff… but I mean, it would be nice. And again, people just assured me that if we display in the home and to others the things we wish for our child to know and love, it will happen. You just do it in front of them and they pick it up. Actually, more so, they soak it up like a thirsty sponge on hot concrete. Kids blow my mind. It fascinates me on the daily what my kid picks up on and starts doing just from seeing us do it. Currently, Knox is really into squats and planks because he watches me do my home workouts when I can’t make it to the gym. So now, I just invite him to do my workouts with me. Y’all, he is 18 months! It’s crazy how quickly they learn to love what you love.
So, if it’s true that we train up a child in the way he should grow by simply showing them by our own actions… Teaching our child to love God, love others, and be a kind human starts with US. Yep. You. If you want to raise a gentleman, marry a man who treats you like a queen and shows his son by action how to treat and speak to a woman. Want to raise a kind daughter? You better watch your tongue and be kind to other women. You better tame that fire when you want to gossip or say a slight comment about another woman when they walk away in front of your daughter. It starts with Y O U. It starts with YOUR HEART.
You want your child to read their Bible and love church? Then you yourself need to display opening your Bible first thing every single day. Create quiet time with your child! Let them see you open books and value “you time.” Let them see you kiss your spouse and make them wait while you talk. Let them see you speak life into others, host people at your home, serve others, pray both by yourself and with one another. Your child will pick up on it. They will replicate it, because you are their hero from day 1. They want to do what you do. So, what are you modeling for them?
You want them to eat healthy and make smart choices? Model that.
You want them to exercise and value their body? Model that.
You want them to be respectful to adults? Model that.
One thing I took from a few friends who I respected and saw their children doing things I wanted to see my own child excel in or do was speaking to my child as though they already understand (i.e. not like a baby) and allowing them to watch me do pretty much everything. (And then try it for themselves!) Paul and I welcome Knox into just about any and everything we do so that he can pick up on what we do, how we do it, and *hopefully* he picks up our habits. And, thank God there is grace and we pray he doesn’t pick up any bad habits he might see us do. Because, yep, we are all imperfect and we will do things we hope to God our child doesn’t replicate.
Say sorry when you goof.
Tell your child why something you did wasn’t “model behavior”, and use it as a teaching moment. YES, even at 18 months. I hold Knox’s face and ask him to please forgive me if I am irritated or being short. I will never be above asking my child for forgiveness when forgiveness needs asking.
Friend, it starts with you. The deeper you dive into a relationship with God, your child will follow. The more you serve others and open your heart and home, your child will do the same.
We can complicate stuff so much and think we need a “How To Guide” for raising kind humans, when in reality… We raise kind humans by being kind ourselves. We drop bitterness or cattiness or jealousy, and we grow confident in who we are because of who Christ is in us. And in doing so, you grow in your abilities to be the best parent you can to your child. You can do this! Nobody is a better mom or dad to your child that God designed you to be mommy or daddy to than YOU.