Sunday, July 15, 2018

He is watching, Mama

One day a few months ago Henry was sitting on the bathroom sink (with me holding on, right behind him) while I brushed his teeth. He saw my earring on the counter and tried sticking it to my ear. While he was playing outside that same day, I started pulling some weeds and putting them in a nearby wagon. He stopped what he was doing and started picking up anything he could find and putting it in the wagon also. That very same day while I was working out, he started jumping around and mimicking me just as I was mimicking the instructor on TV. It was this day when I realized just how closely he is watching everything I do. In all my regular day-to-day actions I am teaching him how to do life.

No pressure there.
Okay, there is much pressure. There is a lot of weight in knowing that I am shaping his vocabulary, his habits and his character. He won't just copy the good examples, but he will mimic every slip up when I stub my toe and every ill word I speak when someone cuts me off in traffic. He will learn from my relationships with other adults and what it means to be a good friend. He is watching my relationship with his father and how we respond to each other in both good times and bad. He sees that we go to church on Sunday come rain or shine, and he sees us pray over our food before a meal. He watches me playing on my phone when I should be doing something more productive. He feels when I respond to his actions with frustration instead of love. He is a sponge, and I need to be more aware of what he is soaking up.

Brave Mama Shirt by

Just like so many things in life, I have a choice. I have a choice to teach him about the importance of taking care of the body God gave you. I have a choice to teach him how important it is to honor your word and be a dependable friend. I have a choice to teach him not to accept things at face value. I have a choice to teach him that it is always best to be kind to others instead of judging and gossiping about them. Never have I been more aware of the areas in my life that need work than when I realize I am teaching this precious, little person how to do basically everything. Even when I don't mean to teach, my actions are lessons. Some things are born in us, and those things we cannot help, but so much of who we are is a result of our environment and our response to it. It is more than just please and thank you and 'get your finger out of your nose'. As a stay at home mom and the person he is with 24/7, I have to be careful to curate an environment that will give him the best opportunity to grow into a strong, healthy, kind, Jesus-loving adult. That is heavy stuff.

This job is not an easy one, but it is so incredibly important to me. I know I am failing daily. I say things I shouldn't, roll my eyes when I should smile, and complain about things that don't matter. But I am trying to give myself some grace because I have learned over time that beating myself up about it is not going to make it better. Instead, I remind myself of the boy who hugs and loves generously. I remind myself of the boy who reaches for our hands before we eat so we can say grace. I remind myself of the boy who smiles at strangers, shares his food (though he probably didn't learn that one from me), and confidently makes new friends. He such a tiny little blessing, and while I am teaching him all day every day, I think I am the one who has learned the most.


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