I was sitting on a living room chair, quickly texting a picture of my son’s latest artwork to a friend… Earlier in the week, Brady had let himself into my piano closet (which is child-proofed, but the little guy has a degree in locking picks apparently). Once inside, he had found a permanent black marker and decided to practice doodling on my beautiful chair. I had been sitting just feet away, but – caught up in trying to jot down items onto my grocery list – I didn’t look up until one minute too late. And although I’m quite proud of how well he accidentally drew the letter ‘P’, I had to swallow my initial reaction and to calmly explain to Brady that we don’t draw on furniture.
Or the wall. Or on Kaitlyn.
We don’t draw on anything unless it’s paper provided by Mommy and Daddy.
I had literally just sat down, took a quick picture of the chair with my phone, sent it to my friend, and added a brief text, when I glanced up to see Brady walking into the room looking like this.
After applying nail polish earlier in the day, I had set the jar onto the kitchen island; because a family member had stopped by really quick. It was quickly forgotten in the daily events that followed. But my son later found it, successfully reached for it, opened it, and applied a generous coat of said polish to each of his fingernails.
(I have come to the realization that Brady follows me around every moment of the day, waiting for me to slip up and to leave something out that should be immediately put back in its place. I assure you that our house is baby and toddler proofed. It is, however, never going to be Brady proofed. I am not capable of that kind of proofing. It is beyond my mental capability and physical energy levels).
Anyway, with my son standing in front of me displaying his manicure, I sat there in complete shock and silence. Brady, his face beaming from ear to ear, proceeded to lightly shake his hands and to say, “Now we let them dry.”
I realized, slightly in awe, that I was looking at a mirror image of myself after I’ve painted my nails… I mean, at the age of three, he’s almost as good at applying nail polish as I am too. (It’s sad but true). And he had that gentle shake of the hand down and even that thing I apparently say every time… “Now we let them dry.”
He was mimicking my every move and looking to me for approval. He had copied his mamma, and now he was waiting for me to say, “Good job!” Just like he had tried to write down his own little scribbles while watching me create a grocery list.
Just as he shouts out, “Hi, Daddy!” if I first exclaim,, “Yay, Daddy’s home!”
Or just as he eagerly climbs onto a chair to help with dishes, when I chat about how much fun we’ll have doing it together. But acts disgruntled about spilled juice if I react too sharply to a careless accident on the rug.
Even just as he sits at the piano and tries to sing “Jesus Loves Me” after I’ve practiced for a Sunday’s worship song.
He mimics. Copies. Watches, learns, and then incorporates it into his own young life.
It brought to mind a Bible verse from Deuteronomy (6:5 – 7) – “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Our children are watching. And as parents, we know that; because it all sounds so obvious. But I think too often we forget just how much of an impression our actions and words are having on our kids.
Our children are listening to our every word… To the tone with which we speak them. They’re watching the way we get through our days, soaking in our attitudes and our body language.
Our lives are living testimonies and ‘speaking’ even louder than those words we’re saying. We say “help others”, but are we joyfully giving of our time. We say “turn the other cheek”; but do our casual, ‘when-no-one-is-listening’ words speak of grudges. We say “love God with all your heart,” but is time spent in God’s word, worship, and church a priority for us? Do our children see us kneeling in prayer and meditating on the Bible? We say “love others”, but do we love when it’s not comfortable or safe? We say “God made everyone special and unique,” but do we look in the mirror and criticize the person looking back at us?
Impress them (God’s commandments) on their hearts.
Our children are watching… Are we showing them what they need to be seeing?
A little boy who drew on my chair and painted his nails reminded me this week that eyes are watching me. And more than anything, I want to impress God’s love and living word into his life! Not only by speaking God’s truth, but also in the way I conduct myself every day.