Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A few mornings ago I came downstairs and found my 4 year-old daughter fully dressed, with a toy camera in hand and she said, “We need to go outside and take pictures of the purple flowers.” So I grabbed my camera and followed her outside where I watched amazed as she circled the flowers, bending down, moving in and out, and snapping picture after picture. She was imitating me. I have never told her how to take a picture but by watching me she assumes that is the way it is done.

Maybe you have heard that values are caught, not taught. While my husband and I spend a significant amount of time teaching our kids about life, we also believe that the cement that binds these teachings into their hearts is our example, the way we choose to live our lives day to day. The tone of voice I use towards my husband, the forgiveness we show to each other, the joy (or lack of it) that I have in my life. All of these things become very real when I see them reflected through one of my kids, like looking into a mirror. Good or bad, they are watching.

One thing I have noticed is that the communication struggles that my husband and I have are played out between our kids. On one hand I find this extremely frustrating but on the other hand I am thankful that God speaks so clearly to us. I believe that it is by God’s grace that He reveals the things we need to work on. Because we have such a clear visual picture of what we are doing wrong, we have been motivated to strive for something better.

In our striving to change our own communication patterns, I have noticed that over the last couple of months my daughters are working through their own struggles with each other until they reach a conclusion, rather than just shrugging frustrated shoulders and walking away with resentment in their hearts. This is ripe produce picked from a garden that my husband and I have been sowing. Since God through His grace has been teaching us to communicate properly, this has trickled down to our kids. God is good!

I don’t expect to send perfect children into the world and I tend to think that most families have a certain level of dysfunction within them. But I do take pleasure in knowing that God is leading my husband and I at all times and that His desire is not only to bring us closer in our relationship, but also to teach our kids to live successful lives of their own, following Him. Knowing that my kids are always watching me and drinking in my actions can be a scary concept, but I rest in the knowledge that God is watching and leading my husband and me in His ways. All we need to do it follow…