Teaching your Kids by Example

Teaching the youngster to feed
foxypar4 / Foter.com / CC BY

Do you ever stop and wonder what your kids learn just from watching what you do from day-to-day?  As a parent, I make sure my kids are doing well in school, that they get involved in several activities, I want to make sure they use proper manners and that they have good friends that surround them.  I want happy kids who feel loved and supported.  I want my kids to have goals and aren’t afraid to go after their dreams.

Over the weekend, I revamped my blog, did a lot of writing, showed a client a home (I’m also a real estate agent) and took care of the house.  I am always sharing my experiences with the kids, and this weekend, I got some input on what they thought about the new theme for my blog.  I asked them if it made sense, were the buttons easy to find and did it appear too cluttered.  The kids were more than happy to help me out and it made me feel good that they took as much interest in what I was doing as I do in what thy are up to.

It got me thinking about life lessons that aren’t talked about, but shown through example.  These kids see a mom who can juggle several important tasks.  They see someone who has goals and isn’t afraid to venture into the unknown.  I think the kids learn more by example than what I could possibly ever think of to tell them.

Over the weekend, my oldest daughter really worked on her studies.  She then spent an entire day working on an art project that she has been making daily adjustments to.  The passion and dedication she showed towards her project really touched me.  She was so proud of what she had created.  Her eyes glowed and her enthusiasm was contagious.  The amount of dedication she was putting into this project made me feel that she would be just fine in life.  The best moment came when she said that she had worked on her project for a while and hit the wall.  She was bored and not too impressed with what she had drawn.  She was just going to give up and try something else.  Then she decided that she was a little curious and wondered, if she just stuck with it a bit longer, could she make her project into something really great.  Well, she pushed through and what she created after hours of work was incredible.

I knew then, that I had been able to get across an important lesson by example which is that the road to success will not always be thrilling.  There are bumps in the road that need to be smoothed out.  Success comes when you can face those tough moments and look for the challenge instead of giving up because it seems hard.

My daughter’s drawing is of a woman in a yoga pose sitting in front of her window.  She is looking out at the New York skyline.  You feel the peace emanating from the woman and the busyness of the city all at once.  On the woman’s side is a small tattoo that says 9112001.  The tattoo is almost not seen.  The tattoo represents the tragedy of 9/11.  My daughter wanted to show a moment of peace since the chaos of such a tragic day.  she wanted to get across that the day was gone, but hadn’t been forgotten.

I was amazed at the depth of her creativity.  She blew me away when she talked about sticking with things when she hit a tough moment.  My daughter told me that she would be successful no matter what she did in life because when she gets interested in something, she becomes obsessed and wants to see how far she can go with it.  When she told me this, I knew she would be fine.  She had learned a valuable lesson that some adults haven’t been able to conquer.  It’s amazing what is learned by example.

I think about the parents who don’t share their rough moments with their kids.  The kids see a parent who comes home from work and sits in front of the tv.  They don’t share hobbies or interests.  This was my parents when I was growing up.  I never saw my parents consume themselves in something they loved.  I never saw them hit a rough patch and learn what they did to get past it.  I saw parents who were tired from a day of work. They helped us with homework or puttered around the house cleaning and fixing things.  I never got the opportunity to see real life in action and how to handle different situations.

I’m forever grateful that my kids have not only seen the best moments, but the worst ones too.  They have learned more by watching true life situations than anything I could have ever said to them all of these years.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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14 thoughts on “Teaching your Kids by Example

  1. Yes I absolutely agree with your post…couple years ago I had an aha moment….I asked myself what is the role of a parent? what kind of adults I wanted my kids wanted to grow to be? In answer to my question I realised leading by example is the best way. Now it seems easy to work on myself and talk to them about this. I wish my parents would have talked more about thier lives than they did. Oh well I can now fix that with my children.

  2. Wow…what a great article! You’re so right..There really are so many little things that they pick up on that we don’t notice that they pick up on. If you say one thing, then do another…kids will pick up on what it is that you’re doing, rather than what you’re telling them to do…

  3. Your daughters art piece sounds amazing. I believe, for me, to tell my children how to live comes off preachy, but to show them lets them ruminate on the questions they may have and even come back to question me. I shared everything I did from including them in the repair of the car to gutting and remodeling a home. I knew my eldest son got the message when after asking me why I didn’t apply for food stamps when hitting a rough patch and I answered that we had enough to eat and I was leaving it for people who didn’t have what we had. Today, he is making similar choices in his family to what I had done raising him.

  4. As a child my parents shared things with us kids that my grandparents didn’t think we need to know about such as when money was tight we were told that money was tight because dad wasn’t getting any overtime, it made it easier for us to understand when we were told that something couldn’t be afforded……..I remember when my dad was drinking a lot I was 13 and my parents split up for a few weeks mum told me it was because dad was drinking to much and she didn’t like it and that dad had to decide what he loved more his family or his grog………….he chose his family……………children don’t understand if they are not told they

    • Fantastic post! Actions always speak much louder than words. Children will often not do what you say but act as you do. I remember one time my son and daughter were in the middle of a heated argument about some trivial matter and my daughter stopped and said…”to figure this out, we need to fight fair like mom does”. The kids ultimately solved their issue and later I asked my daughter how she knew that mommy fights fairly. Apparently the week before during a play date, several of us got into a very heated debate about politics. There was a lot of yelling and finger pointing, not in anger but in the spirit of a great debate and out of passion. At one point I stood up and hollered….we can all agree to disagree but let take turns speaking our minds. I never realized little eyes were watching from the next room. Certainly an AH HA moment for me.

  5. You are so right! As a pediatrician I have seen all kinds of parents, bad and good and everything in between and with all kinds of kids. My advice is it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s 90+% what you do! My motto is: Be the person you want your child to become! Sometimes it’s sad that it’s true!

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