From the day I found out I was pregnant, I dreamt of all the things I would teach my little girl. How to read. How to bake. How to garden. And the list goes on. It wasn’t until she was sitting in her high chair one day and I felt her big blue eyes on me that I realized how closely she was watching my every move. It dawned on me that there are a million practical things I can teach her with instructions, anecdotes and hands-on activities as she grows up. But the truly important lessons – the ones that will influence how she lives and loves – she will learn through observation.
Realizing that my daughter will model my behaviors, reactions and attitudes is overwhelming, if not downright terrifying (especially since a bad day can render me 10 shades of crazy). But it also forced me to look harder at myself and determine what I want her to takeaway as she grows.
Of all that she might absorb by my example, I hope the below 6 always resonate.
There is no better medicine for the soul than a deep belly laugh. Life will always throw curveballs, but I hope she learns that laughter – and being able to laugh at herself – is the key to overcoming obstacles with ease and grace.
Our first lessons in love come from watching our parents, and it’s a personal priority of mine that Lorelai always sees her mama and daddy hug, kiss, hold hands and show affection toward each other. Children who grow up observing their parents loving and respecting each other tend to seek out meaningful relationships. Alternately, those who discern nothing but contempt and discord are more likely to follow those same paths or struggle to form healthy unions. I can’t think of a worse way to fail my daughter.
Engaging in hobbies
We all wear many hats – mothers, wives, sisters, friends – but I want my daughter to also see me, a person with her own interests and passions. Engaging in the activities that bring us joy provide more meaning to our lives, and I hope my example encourages my daughter to indulge in her own passions and talents.
My fondest early memories include sitting on my grandmother’s lap reading stories, or spending summer days walking to the local library to check out piles of books. There is so much to absorb and experience in this diverse world, and I’m hell bent on stoking her endless curiosity and pursuit of knowledge through the rich world of books.
Successful. Creative. Happy. Healthy. In the quest to be so many things, simply being kind is often pushed aside. There is a lot of meanness and cruelty in this world, and Lord knows, I’m sure she’ll encounter her fair share of mean girls as she grows up. But I pray she never becomes one. It’s not enough to tell her to be nice or mind her manners. As her first role model, I know how critical it is that she sees me treating people with kindness and practicing empathy, even in the most challenging situations.
Respecting my body
Taking the time to exercise, eat healthy and look polished isn’t always easy, but it makes me feel confident and strong. Perhaps more importantly, feeling healthy helps me to limit negative comments about my own body insecurities and avoid setting unrealistic beauty standards for my beautiful little girl. Teaching our daughters to respect their bodies not only builds self-assurance, but shapes the way they carry themselves in all other areas of their lives.
What do you want to model for your children?