Photo by Tamera Reynolds
The chiming clock announced it was time to leave for church, and I was far from ready. Seeing my crazed preparations, my husband offered to iron my clothes for me. Our 3-year-old daughter, the connoisseur of conversation, approached him.
"Are you ironing your shirt, Daddy?" she asked.
"No, I'm ironing Mommy's shirt."
"Oh, did you think it was your shirt?" A small giggle escaped her lips. "That's silly."
"No, I knew it was Mommy's shirt," he said.
A puzzled expression crossed my daughter's face. "Then why are you doing that?"
"Because your mommy is a special person, and I like to help her," he answered.
"Oh," she happily replied, then skipped out of the room. "I'm going to go help my brother."
Be an Example
As our children's first teachers, we know that little eyes keep track of our every move. Even as you complete the most mundane tasks around the house, your kids are watching. Later, you may find your little imitator chattering into a plastic phone, cooking up meals in toy pots or pounding with "tools."
We know that our children imitate not only our actions, but our attitudes. And that can have its downside. We've all had those "Oh no" moments when we hear our children scold their siblings or friends in a tone we know they learned from us. But on the positive side, that same propensity to imitate can serve us well as we try to model, and in turn teach, an attitude of kindness and cheerful servanthood.
We all try to do nice things for our spouses and children. But even more important than what we do is how we act. The difference between "doing things" and "serving others" is a matter of attitude.1