I watch my three year-old love on her teddy bear. She rocks him, cuddles him, and sings to him. She tells him stories and speaks tenderly to him. She will chat with him for two hours in her bedroom at naptime. She even threw him a birthday party one day. (Lots of friends attended. Lots of singing.)
She shows the love to her little sister too. She will show her books, share her toys, and attempt to get her lil sis to take a walk around the house with her.
So dear…she is learning to nurture and love.
And…she also scolds. Raises her voice. Yells. She shows frustration. Impatience.
The exact lines I say to her are repeated to Teddy Bear or her little sis. The exact tone and frustration level.
I am seeing her mimic my reactions. My words. And I see what I can look like as a parent. Or more accurately I hear what I can sound like.
Actions speak louder than words and so on. You hear it all the time, but I don’t think I fully understood until I had children. They pick up on everything. The good and the bad.
Roll your eyes at your spouse? They see it.
Gossip about your neighbors? They hear it.
The poor attitude? They learn it.
How you react when frustrated? They watch it.
Show immense impatience towards the grocery store cashier? The one that cannot see that you have a full cart, two small children on the verge and they are happy to have a conversation with the person in front of you. How dare they be polite and chat, when you clearly need to be out of the store now. Or 10 minutes ago. And you still have to check out, get the kids out to the car, unpack the cart, get home, unpack the car, get kiddos their lunch before they fold…and the cashier wants to take her sweet time. Doesn’t she see the look? The please “hurry up” plea? (Nope. Never been there.) That impatience? They see it.
What are your actions teaching your children?
I am constantly focusing on how I react to each and every situation I face each day. I fall short, but continue to try. Why? I know character must be modeled. She is watching and picking up on my every move. On my every word.
If you are worrying and panicking in a stressful situation, pray to the Lord for help. Teach your children to go to Him in prayer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
If you see someone in need, help them. Teach your children to be compassionate. Teach them to serve.
If you are blessed by someone, thank them. Teach your children gratitude.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. – I Chronicles 16:34
If you make a mistake, admit your wrongdoing and apologize. Teach your children to seek forgiveness.
If gossip gets out of hand, stop it. Teach your children kindness and love.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:35
If someone compliments you, be humble. Teach your children humility.
If you have success at work, thank God for blessing you. Teach your children thankfulness.
If you are tempted to tell a lie, don’t. Teach your children honesty.
The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. – Proverbs 20:7
If you find yourself struggling with enjoyment in your job, continue to work hard. Teach your children a strong work ethic.
If you find yourself following the evils of this world, pull yourself out. Teach your children whom they should follow.
Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them: For their heart devises violence, And their lips talk of troublemaking. – Proverbs 24:1-2
Our time and money is not our own. Be faithful stewards. Teach your children to serve. Teach them about joyful giving.
There is so much that we can teach our children without even using our words.
Obviously, conversation around our actions is beneficial. Essential. But remember that even when you aren’t talking and sharing a life lesson, you are still teaching.
Lux Ganzon says
The saying “Action speaks louder than words” is vital in teaching children. They emulate what they see more than what they’re told to do.
Although what you wrote here also holds true to anyone at any age, the impact is so much stronger with kids as they’re like sponges absorbing everything around them.
Yes, it’s not only our children that see our actions. Thanks for reading!
Honeybee @ Her Weight Loss Diary says
Nice sharing. Children learn their behavior from their parents’ examples. I remind myself about this everyday.
You’re so right. Our actions speak so much louder than our words. Our children are always watching. I’m glad that we have the perfect example to follow, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us as we try and be good examples for our children. Thank you for sharing this.
Yes, we have the perfect example to follow! And we are given grace and forgiveness when we fall short.
Kristi Miller says
This is so true. Overwhelmingly so at times. It has definitely made me look at my actions through a microscope. I appreciate that you provided practical tips and prayer surrounding this. Getting our daughter involved in service with me and spending time with her and in front of her in God’s Word, has been a big priority to me as a result. I am working on the humility one though. I would say that my husband and I take complements humbly, but we complement and encourage her a fair amount and so she sometimes now repeats our complements, and when she says them about herself it doesn’t sound so humble. It is cute at the moment because she is still very young, but I don’t want confidence to bleed into arrogance. Any tips for this beyond teaching her how to humbly accept a compliment? I thinking helping others has had a positive impact on this, and she gives nice compliments to others and is happy when they do well at things, but I am open to ideas on additional guidance. I’m going to pin this article. Thank you for your insight! I’m visiting from the Grace & Joy link-up today.
It sounds like you are watching your actions and making it a priority to be a great example for your daughter. That is wonderful! Spending time with her in God’s Word is of such importance and everything flows from His Word. It’s where we find our guidance, but also where we hear of His grace and forgiveness when we do fall short.
I think of that often also: How to balance encouragement and building up, while also teaching humility. My oldest is only 3.5 and I am just learning! I think the fact that you are aware and thinking about this is great. Continue the conversations around humility. I often find encouraging articles at Focus On The Family. Their website will probably have articles around this. They also have books that can be great resources.
They mentioned this book: Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments. One of the topics covered is humility. I have not read the book, but at a glance it looked like a good resource. The Table of Contents mentions “15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize”. Maybe it would be a good idea to find Bible verses on humility. You could talk about the verses and when she is old enough she could memorize them, so they are ingrained in her head and on her heart? I’m actually saving the book title for later, so I can look further into it!
Haley Lillibridge says
This is an eye opening and important message. I have too observed my toddler repeating things I have unfortunately said. The tips and Bible verses you gave were encouraging and helpful in remembering how we should be using our words and actions for the glory of God. Great Post!
Thanks so much for reading!
This is so true – our actions speak louder than words. Being a parent means we have to model the behavior we want to see, and it’s sooooo hard. I get so disappointed in myself, but life is stressful sometimes. Thank you for the important reminder. So lovely to meet you via SITS.
Yes, it is hard! And we definitely won’t always get it right! We have God’s grace and forgiveness.
Thanks for sharing this! I am going through the same thing and this let me know that I am not alone and to stay encouraged!
Found you from the Saturday Soiree. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post! I am going through this too. It has really made be take a step back and think about my words, what I sound like, and what words I use out of frustration. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.
You are welcome. Thanks for reading!
Brittany at Equipping Godly Women says
Oh yes! Pretty much all of my kids’ bad habits–they learned from me. It’s glaringly obvious.
I’m sure they are also picking up on wonderful habits. :) Thankfully we all have Christ’s grace & forgiveness when we fall short!
Such wise words and so hard to follow on our own, but thankfully we have grace and His help in our weakness. And those moments we are weak, they can teach lessons, too, lessos on how we can seek forgiveness with true repentant hearts. :)
So so true. Yes, the weak moments can definitely teach us lessons of grace and forgiveness. Thanks for adding!
So true. Thank you for a wonderful post.
This is so right on and what a great reminder of how our actions affect our children! Thanks for sharing!
Terri Presser says
This is so true, our children (and others) are watching us and learning from us and we need to be so careful to keep ourselves in check. Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
Thank you for reading!
Kelly S says
I found your blog via your comment at Money Saving Mom… I just re-started blogging this week and so I was interested when you said you just started too. It looks great!
Appreciate your post – I have a 2 year old, and I am sometimes floored at the connections she makes that show that she really is paying attention. The thing that concerns me most is that my husband and I find ourselves having tense conversations/arguments at times in front of her, like in the front seat of the car when we’re driving and she’s in her car seat, and I always think she’s too little to pay attention, but then I realize she probably is paying attention!
What a responsibility it is to disciple our children but also be human!
You mentioned you were floored at the connections your daughter makes…I agree. It’s shocking! Especially with a first born as it’s all so new (at least in my case).
Yes, it’s a great responsibility! Thankfully we have forgiveness in Christ when we fall short. And a perfect example in Him.
Thanks for the blog compliment. :)
Oh my gracious this is hard isn’t it? I just made an apology to my teen this weekend for my tone of voice. I hear it repeated in her words…and I learned it from my mother.
I’m just waiting for the teen years…oh dear.
Aimee Imbeau says
You go through a lot of great points here. Our actions are key in teaching our children to live godly lives. How can I lead my children into practicing forgiveness if I am harbouring unforgiveness myself? How can I lead my children to the cross when I avoid it at all costs?
On the flip side, we mess up and our kids need to see how we deal with our mistakes. Do we blame others? Do we become defensive? Or do we do what is necessary to make things right? Do we run to Christ in repentance? Do we forgive ourselves?
Your post was a joy to read.
Thanks for reading! Yes, I agree. There are many lessons to be learned in how we deal with our mistakes & shortcomings. Thanks for sharing.
Happy to have come over from the #RaRaLinkUp. Your words convict and soothe this mama heart of mine. I was just thinking on these same things a few night ago as I read a book “This Little Light of Mine” to my children. And I thought to myself, how am I letting them SEE my light?
Shine on brightly today friend.
So great! Thanks for sharing.
And now I think that song will be in my head the rest of the day. :)
Just love this so much! The whole post.
But this : “There is so much we can teach our children without even using our words”. So good!
Thanks, Rachel! Thanks also for sharing the post. I appreciate it!
Abi at Joy In My Kitchen says
So true. A good reminder to check myself when I don’t like what I see in my kids.
Kelly Balarie says
You convict my soul to be more aware. You convict me to think about what I say and do. This is a very good thing and a very good post because I want to model love to my little 3-year and 1-year olds. Thank you for joining Purposeful Faith’s #RaRalinkup; I am blessed by your parenting insights today.
Ashley Servis @ Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody says
I love your take on this. I think it is important to model for children. I may not be a mother yet, but I am with kids 3-4 hours a day and in the summer at least 8 hours. I am a role-model just like their parents. I sometimes forget this and I need to remember it for God as given me the blessing of spending my day with children. Thank you for sharing and link up on Monthly Themed Fridays: LOVE Theme February.
Yes, this is NOT only true for parents! Blessings to you as you work with the kids & let your light shine in your work.
Barb @ A Life in Balance says
Thank you for contributing to Motivation Monday!
Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM says
I love this more than you know. Teachings are caught more than they are taught and I have a philosophy that we cannot share what we don’t have. Sharing!
Teachings are caught more than taught…true. Thanks!
Thank you for reading and sharing the post. I appreciate it!
When my son was a toddler, God had to deal with me firmly about my reactions to things. I learned that my reactions were affecting my family, and thankfully God’s grace helped me change and grow. Now even as he is a teenager, these lessons you wrote about are still necessary! I want him to see the best in me, and to learn to follow Christ by seeing His love in me:) Great words. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for sharing!
Jennie @ Little Girl Designs says
Thank you so much for sharing–this is so hard but true! Isn’t this one of those things that our moms taught us? ;) Now that I’m a mommy myself, I really see what she meant.
My mom and dad were great examples and taught me the same. Thanks for reading!
Ashley Egan says
As my children are getting older, it is amazing to see how many of my bad habits they have picked up from me, what a great reminder. Thanks for linking up to Awesome Life Friday!
Tina M Wright says
I can relate! I remember when my kids were young and I had this “aha!” moment: Actions def speak louder than words. Thank you for encouraging us to mimic the love of God (and confess the times when we fall short). Blessed by your words today!
I’m happy you were encouraged! Thanks for reading.
So very true! I can’t help thinking of my favorite quote once again, “Share the gospel and if necessary, use words.”. This can be a banner for us mothers…
Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!
Thanks for sharing!
Anita Ojeda says
It’s funny how when we reach adulthood we’re so excited because then we get to make all of our own decisions and no one is looking over our shoulder. Then we have kids and realize that someone is not only looking over our shoulder–they’re imitating everything we say and do! May God grant each of us the grace to self-filter :).
Yes, looking over our shoulder AND imitating! Thanks for reading.
It sure is scary to see my children mimic my negative behaviors! Prayer and meditation are the only ways I can successfully build my levels of patience. On a more positive note, I love watching my daughter treat her babies, her little brother, and family pets with such love and kindness. I am truly amazed how much she learns just by watching!
I know! It is so sweet to see. :)
Tiffany Cutcliff says
I am so convicted of this everyday. Thank you for writing such a great post on the topic. I rarely curse, and one time I did, and I heard a little parrot from my living room repeating what I said! I was horrified! They listen to EVERYTHING we say and watch everything we do! Great motivation to start taking the plank out of our own eyes!
Thanks for reading!
Serena @ Simple Holistic Girl says
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I was JUST saying to my husband the other day that we both need to work on communication in general. I realized some of the things our children see us do and turn around and do the same thing. A simple gesture as rolling of the eyes can have a HUGE impact. Things like that become so second nature to us we don’t realize it until we see them do it and BING…reality check! Visiting via the SHINE blog hop!
Very true. We often don’t realize what we are doing until we see it in the kiddos!
They truly are little sponges that absorb everything they see and hear. It is amazing how much they pick up! I agree that actions speak louder than words and I think everyone could take a little more care in what we are showing our children. Myself included.
Thank you for sharing at the #SHINEBlogHop!
Thanks for stopping by and reading!
Hi! :) I’m stopping by from Grace and Truth. I really appreciated this post as my witness to my children is something I’ve been feeling convicted about lately. It’s a great reminder that actions speak louder than words in so many ways. We have so much influence over them and we often fail to realize that!
It can be hard, so thankfully we have forgiveness when we fall short! Thanks for reading.
This is a great reminder. I feel like I’ve come so far as a mom, and yet have so far still to go! I guess that’s the feeling until I die or until Christ returns, huh? I love it when I see my boys modeling lovingkindness, but I also know that when they speak harshly, they’ve seen that in me as well! Onward and upward, with respite at the cross.
Come so far, but yet have so far to go! Yes! There is so much to learn & figure out. :)
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories says
This is so true. It’s a rude look in the mirror when my youngest mimics my impatience. Thanks for sharing these important reminders with Small Victories Sunday linkup. Pinned and hope you join us this weekend.
Thanks for pinning!
Janelle@The Peaceful Haven says
Excellent! Thanks for taking the time to write this!!
I have two girls too, age 3 and 6. They do mimic everything we do and you really do see the positives and negatives of yourself through their actions. It is definitely eye opening at times.
Angela @ Stepping into Motherhood ( http://glennbabies.blogspot.com)
Yes, it can be eye-opening! Thanks for reading.
Sarah @ GlamGranolaGeek says
This post is great encouragement for keeping at the monumental task of trying to model good behaviour to my kids. I really struggle with this too. Thanks for linking up at the Ladies Collective Linkup! Hope to see you there this Wednesday too!
Victoria @SimplifiedLife.net says
An very challenging and encouraging post. How true that our children really watch how we respond to the challenges we face in life. With four girls of my own, I see myself in them often. Thank you for sharing with us over at Simply Inspired Wednesday’s – this is one of our featured post this week. I hope you will join us again. ~Victoria @SimplifiedLife.net
Thanks for featuring my post! I appreciate it.
aimee fauci says
So true! I am so guilty of so many of these points you made. It’s sad because I learned all this from my own mother! Now it’s time to change. Linking up from ThrowbackThursday
Stephanie @ Mommyzoid says
WOW. What a great reminder! I’ve already noticed my 8 month old picks up on EVERYTHING. He can feel stress and knows when I’m happy. It’s BEGINNING!
Thanks for sharing this over at the Ladies Collective Linkup! Hope you’ll come back again next Wednesday and share what you’ve been up to.
Stephanie @ http://www.mommyzoid.ca
Yes, I will be back!! Thanks. ;)
Dianne Thornton says
Great post! I remember the first time I heard my son (about 4 years old at the time) mimic me — back to me. I know my jaw must have hit the floor. Now my kids are teens and I continue to see evidence of the things we’ve taught them. Some good, some not so much. Beautiful lesson, beautifully communicated.
Thanks for sharing! Yes, I hope that there will be good taught. I am trying to be aware.
Jennifer Shackelford says
What an encouraging and convicting message! Thanks for sharing!
I love the encouragement to do the right thing followed by the scriptures, thanks for sharing!
Michele Morin says
I’ have felt the weight of responsibility to be congruent and faithful to “walk my talk” so heavily since becoming a mum. This has been a good thing for my relationship with God, because I realize that He is the one who needs to make that happen in my heart!
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking with the Lord.”