We all have blind spots– those aspects of our lives that might seem obvious to others but shockingly opaque to us. All of it, our children learn.
The greatest things they learn from us are not taught by lecture, but the example of our lives. They are sent into the next generation, subconsciously mirroring our predisposition to their daily activities, their relationships, their everything. They see their worlds through our eyes.
Will I regret some of those patterns? Of course. Despite my willingness to be self-examining, I know that I don’t even understand some of them, yet.
Things I know I’ve taught my children….
2. reactive anger, especially in little things…ironically, I’m cool when something big happens
3. no-nonsense, won’t tolerate silly, sometimes
4. When Zach was asked to pretend to be me in a game of Charades, he spoke without missing a beat: “Hannah, get off your iPod”…apparently he’s also learned that being bossy works…I can’t deny it.
5. the “get it done” trait…which is both good and bad
6. a humility to change my heart when I clearly see my unhealthy ways
7. work hard
8. play with verve, unhindered by outside eyes
9. do what you love…
10. …but when you have to do what you don’t love, do it well anyway
11. you have all the time in the world to do what you want to do, you just have to prioritize it
12. if you want something, you’re going to have work to get it
13. share your money, your resources, and your time, but above all, share your heart–who you really are–not who you think you should be, not who people tell you to be and not opposite of what people tell you to be. Aspire to just be yourself
14. listen, as much or more, than you speak…but don’t just pause to listen, try to really understand what the other is saying
15. complaining out loud makes you unhappier
16. gossiping makes you not like other people more than if you kept your thoughts to yourself, and it further makes other people have a bias against them too…
17. you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you do have to be kind to everyone…
18. you have to tell the truth when people are being sarcastic, rough-edged, and sharp–not charming, sweet and winsome
19. most people won’t hurt you and don’t have a penchant for being mean–they’re trying to do the best they can
20. bad stuff happens to everyone. And it invariably will happen in some shape or form, but in the meantime, expend your life to the good and happiness of yourself and others. When the tough times come, you will be better equipped to respond.
What do you want your children to learn from your lives this year? This week I’m pondering.
What we really think about life, not what we say we think about life, is what we infuse in our children.