Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Your Mini Me

I’m often surprised when I hear so many parent’s say, “I don’t know where he gets that from,” referring to some sort of misbehavior or disobedience in their children. I know exactly where they get it from.

Your children are quite literally your Mini Me. They are your EXACT duplicates, replicas, and clones. Don’t be surprised when your two-year old mimics or copies your walk, your talk, and your character. That means when you get angry at small things, he will too. That’s scary stuff, because one of our main goals as parents is to try our hardest to make sure they don’t turn out like us! (See this picture? That's a product of my husband's rage when he spills a drop of coffee on the floor. No kidding. If my husband was 2, this is what he'd look like most mornings getting his cup of joe.)

Our hope as parents is to give our children a better life than we ever had. And that sometimes means hoping we can convince our children not to do the things we did, or even still do. However, if we are not obedient, neither will our children be obedient. If we are not disciplined, our children will not be disciplined either. If we don’t watch what we say, neither will our children. If we don’t care that we hurt other people’s feelings, our children won’t care either when they do it.

Today’s bullies are a product of watching their parents bullying. Their parents are either bullying neighbors, relatives, or other family members. Their parents may even be bullying them! What surprises me about this whole vicious cycle is that parents have this strange idea that what they do and say makes no significant difference in their children’s life.

My first step-father was an abusive alcoholic who beat my mother at least once a week. He came from a family of seven siblings…all of whom are alcoholic wife beaters, or child beaters. Where did that stem from? They all watched their father beat their mother senseless after a night of heavy drinking. What you do matters. And it matters for the sake of your children and our future generation.

The other thing that concerns me is that most parents are oblivious to this fact and just don’t care, nor do they care what kind of world they are creating by creating a generation of monsters!

A few years ago I visited a very good friend of mine at her home. Her and her family had recently moved from the ghetto of Chicago and came to our town for a better future for their children. Unfortunately, they brought the ghetto mentality to our town. Let me explain.

As I was visiting, my friend’s oldest daughter was over and yelling profusely at her seven-year old daughter. Apparently another little girl her age cut in front of her on the slide at the neighborhood park. My friend’s granddaughter was a bit upset about it and came home crying. The mother lost her mind, ranting and raving about how she should have “beat that girl,” and “showed her you are not to be reckoned with.” This rant went on for nearly a half hour about how she wouldn’t survive five minutes in Chicago! I thought that was the point…that she wouldn’t have to! This mother was literally forcing her daughter to fight with your fists with a bullying mentality. If everyone taught their children like this, and in this day and age most are, our entire society would be in disarray.

On the other hand, our two-year old son, Tavin, says “thank you,” whenever you give him something. He’ll even thank you for allowing him to share with you! He also says, “You’re welcome,” when you say thank you to him. But that’s how we operate in our home. We live and breathe doing the right thing by one another and then take that out into the world. We practice what we preach. (That's me being cute and innocent at age 3.)

My son is incredibly polite and kind. Whenever we go anywhere, he says “Hi,” with a grin from ear to ear, to everyone he sees. Most people politely say hi back and move along. Some people beam with delight having encountered such a nice child (again, especially in this day and age). And then there are a select few who absolutely refuse to pay any attention to him at all! I mean, they go out of their way to ignore him, no matter how many times he says hi to them, or leans over trying to make eye contact. The sad part of my job in this scenario is having to tell my child that not everyone is always going to be nice back to him. I hate that part of being a parent: breaking the news to your child that the world isn’t always a good place. Aren’t we really just giving them a big beautiful shiny balloon of goodness and then popping it in their face?

But you see, I aim to change the world, and I’m trying to achieve that through my own actions and incorporating proper morals and values in my child. He absorbs everything he sees and hears. Small children are like sponges. Every little thing you say or do is sucked up and stored away. You may not even realize just how much they are sopping up until one day you ask, “Where did that come from?” Well, they didn’t make it up, because they don’t have that capacity, so anything they do is coming from an influence in their life.

Yesterday morning when Tavin was waking up from his nap he was pulling the wallpaper off of his wall, and as he was doing it he said over and over again, “Uh-uh,” (as in no-no). That’s sometimes my instant reaction to something he’s doing wrong. Instead of screaming, “Nooooo!!” I say, “Uh-uh!” He was copying me. And as he said it, he realized he was doing something wrong and stopped.

As my first blog of Mommy’s Mini Me, I want to explain what my main focus is about. Nearly everything I need to teach my child, I have to first teach myself. As a stay-at-home mommy, I’m my son’s biggest influence; I’m his greatest example. I have to continually keep myself in check in order to be the best teacher he’ll ever have. Every wonderful and positive character trait my son has is because he has seen it in me. And on the same token, every terrible and ridiculous thing he does also stems from me.

Most parents don’t have the luxury of staying at home with their children. That’s incredibly unfortunate, because they are losing out on the greatest opportunity to be the ultimate influence on their child’s life. By cramming our children in day care, we are allowing outside influences, wrong behaviors, and unethical ideas to be pounded in our children. For those parents who have to do this, my heart breaks for you, and my hope for you and your family is that you are paying attention to what your child brings home from those unhealthy environments and doing everything in your power to rewire their way of thinking. There is still hope for them. It just has to come from you. Your child is quite literally your Mini Me.

Now it’s time to start caring enough to design an amazing Mini Me by becoming a spectacular You!

2 comments:

  1. Encouraging and convicting words. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for stopping over and responding, Tim!

    ReplyDelete