If you’ve ever read a parenting book or magazine you’ve probably read that kids learn by example. I’ve read that many times and it made sense to me but recently I have watched it happen right before my eyes.
The other day my husband was putting some baseboard trim in our bedroom. He put it a little too high on one side so he grabbed a putty knife and stuck it behind the trim to loosen the glue so he could move the trim down. Baby Boy was sitting there watching his dad work and as soon as his dad put the putty knife down Baby Boy grabbed it and tried to put it behind the trim. A few days later I had Baby Boy in his room and he got the same putty knife. As soon as it was in his hand he was trying to stick it behind the baseboard in his room. Someday I’m sure he will learn what a putty knife is actually for but for now it’s an object to stick behind that long white thing on the wall.
This learning by example has been apparent to me in my older boys as well. Middle Boy loves his baby brother. He has always loved babies and it is so much fun for him to have one around all the time. I’ve noticed that Middle Boy doesn’t say anything to his little brother that he hasn’t already heard someone else say. He calls him the same nicknames that I do and says the same phrases to him. Whether he says them right after I do or weeks later, it’s always something someone else has said first. He is learning how to act with a baby by watching me and others.
A few months ago we were hiking as a family. As we were walking down the trail my husband reached down, picked a wild flower and gave it to me. Before he had even handed it to me, Big Boy had also picked one and was giving it to me.
These times have been so clear in my mind lately. I admit that they scare me some. I feel a lot of pressure when I realize that all they are learning about being in a family, being married, having a home, etc. they’re learning from me and my husband. It is definitely a good reminder to me to keep my priorities in line.