“Children will follow your footsteps before they follow your advice.” ~Author unknown
The start of a new school year is such a wonderful time of beginnings! More than in January, for those of us connected to the education world (including students), this is a time of “new year” resolutions – “I will use these new school supplies more efficiently, organize my time more productively, communicate more effectively, eat better, exercise regularly…”
I’ve been thinking about the best way to help our children to follow through with their school year resolutions and achieve their goals. It occurs to me that the first, and most important step, is to be good role models for them. As we think of each goal we may have for our kids, we need to carefully examine what they are seeing in us that is guiding their way.
If we want our children to be organized and ready to learn at school each morning- do we present them with an organized and ready example? Or do they see us rushing around, trying to find car keys, routinely forgetting lunches, etc.
If we want our children to finish their homework (or other responsibilities) in a timely manner – do we allow them to see us taking care of our own responsibilities in a timely manner?
If we want our children to interact with others in a respectful way, do they see us doing the same? Or do they hear us yelling in traffic, using bad language, or interacting with one another in a less than respectful way?
We need to consistently model the values and expectations we expect of our children. As a parent myself, I know that this is much easier said than done! But I strongly believe that our greatest responsibility is to raise our children with integrity, which means aligning words, intentions, and actions. If we expect them to behave or speak differently than our example shows them, they are aware of the inconsistency- yes, even our youngest children know when we don’t do what we say! It may seem like our children are unaware of our actions, words, and tone, but in truth, we are teaching them on a daily basis through what we say and what we do.