In her book The Gift of Failure: How to Step Back and Let Your Child Succeed, Jessica Lahey writes
Children feed off adult cues and learn how to manage stressful situations through their parents’ examples. If you handle transitions with grace, they will be much more likely to emulate that grace.
In this context she was talking about how to teach children to deal with unexpected circumstances in life. The reality is that in life there are always surprises waiting for us, sometimes on a daily basis. Both good and bad. When we panic and freak out, our children are watching us. When we lose our temper and lash out, our children are watching us. When we react calmly and control our emotions, our children are watching us. We have control over all these situations. We chose what to model to our children. We have the freedom to chose our response to every situation.
As Christians, we are supposed to be the salt and light of the earth. Recently, I heard a minister preaching on ‘salty Christians’. It made me think about motherhood and how we are not just to be salty Christians but salty mothers. What does that mean?
It means that a primary purpose of our ‘saltiness’ is to glorify God in the teaching of our children. Teaching through example. Very often when it comes to life lessons, there is more significance in whats ‘caught than taught’. We can preach generosity and kindness until we’re blue in the face but if we are tight-fisted and self-obsessed then we are nothing more than hypocrites.
Children will model what they see. Maybe not immediately, but at some future moment in their lives. One day they may be making a decision or facing a trial that is similar to the one you are battling right now. How do you hope your child would deal with that situation? That’s the person you need to be, right now, while so much of your child’s character is still developing.
I’m writing this as much for my own benefit, as yours. It’s easy to be a great ‘salty mother’ when times are good and life is awesome. It’s the hard times we need to be on our guard for, when our faith is shaken, our values are tested and our bodies are weak from the trials of life. If we determine in our minds that this is important, I think we can make a huge difference in the lives of our children. Who’s with me?