I have a friend who just built her own dining room table, and she said to me, “You know, I have my mom to thank for my do-it-yourself attitude.”
She elaborated, telling a story of when she was younger. She had wanted one of those fluffy scarves that were so popular at the time. Her mother bought her yarn, knitting needles, and a book. Not only did she get her scarf, she earned that feeling of empowerment that comes from doing it yourself, and the confidence to continue with other projects.
I met another mother who complained to me that her daughter “just isn’t into anything.” She doesn’t play a sport, or an instrument, and she’s not involved in any clubs in or outside of school. I started to tell her about some of the things my kids do (and want to do), as suggestions to maybe get her daughter interested in something.
Her response was only to complain that then she would have to drive her child to this or that activity and she’d be stuck watching games or races or the like, and she really wasn’t into being a taxi driver or a spectator either.
So, I guess it’s obvious what I’m getting at: Our children will learn from our example. Both of my children know what it feels like to cross a finish line. Because they’ve seen me excited to do it so many times, they wanted to do it themselves. So now we race together.
They both loved the stories and photos I brought back (and plastered all over our home) from gorgeous hikes in the N.C. mountains, and now we’ve discovered new waterfalls together – and they fight over who gets to use my camera!
My daughter plays guitar because I do, although she aspires to be more like Taylor Swift than to play any of MY music these days! And my son, perhaps like any five-year-old boy, aspires to play the drums someday. He and his sister are already planning their band and tour together.
I recently remodeled my kitchen – and MY mother helped me. Part of that was putting up a stone backsplash, and we showed both kids how to put up tile and THEY helped too.
So they’re already on the road to building that table someday (maybe they’ll build one for me)!
When you’re a parent, whatever you’re doing, your children are watching. They are going to emulate what we do, because watching us is how they learn about the world and how to interact with it.
I was recently standing in line at the grocery store with my daughter, and despite my best efforts to turn her attention elsewhere, she was reading the covers of magazines and tabloids in the check out line. She says “look mom, an article about you!”
Bracing myself for the worst, I went to see what she had found. She pointed to a cover story “How to Raise Confident Creative Kids.” I didn’t read the story, but apparently my daughter thinks I could have written it. That’s all that matters.
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly.