By Lynea Gillen
“But you do it, too, Mommy!”
There’s nothing more frustrating as a parent than to realize that a child’s troubling behavior pattern is something they learned from you! How many of us have had that hollow feeling when we expect them to “do as I say, not as I do”?
It’s a humbling reminder of how important modeling is.
Yet we can also see it as an invitation and opportunity to work on some of our own behaviors – the ones we’re not all that proud of.
Seeing Our Teaching Take Root
But while there’s certainly no shortage of self-criticism and “growth opportunities” to be had as a parent, there’s also an abundance of joy, perhaps especially in those moments when we see the gifts and knowledge we have given take root in our children.
Our six-year old granddaughter Anna likes to attend our Yoga Calm classes for kids and especially enjoys helping with the Mindful Snack activity. It’s a practice she brings to many of our family meals, too. She loves the ritual of picking flowers, creating a centerpiece, and creating a beautiful space to enjoy simple, healthy food.
One recent morning, she asked Jim and me to stay out while she made a mindful breakfast for us. She laid out a tablecloth and plates on the living room floor, wrote our names on red napkins, and put an electric candle in the center along with flowers. Then she invited us in for a breakfast of some of our favorite things.
At my place were two pieces of toast with cheese and pickle relish in the center. While I usually don’t like them in that combination, in this moment, it was delightful. Jim’s meal was equally “creative.”
We sat down, and Anna led us through three deep breaths together, each of us stating something we were grateful for before we enjoyed our meal together. She was giving us back the beauty and mindfulness that we had been practicing with her, my greatest joy.
Today, we celebrate Mother’s Day – a wonderful opportunity to thank the women who raised us. Like Father’s Day will be next month and Grandparents Day in September, it’s a special time for gratitude.
Yet in a child’s world – in anyone’s world, really – there are so many others who contribute just as much to our health, safety, and well-being. A number of activities we do in Yoga Calm help children identify those people and understand that there truly are, in the words of my first children’s book, good people everywhere.
One you can do with your own kids is to encourage them to create a “Good Person Award.” We all like to feel appreciated. The “Award” is one way your child can pass that good feeling along to others. You can download the activity here.
Through activities like this, they, too, become models for others, as well.
To all the moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for all that you do.