As a stay-at-home mom of three, my days are filled with teaching moments. Today, I taught my oldest what kind of clothing is appropriate for playing outside in eighty-degree weather. I taught my preschooler how to respond when her baby sister pulls her hair. I taught my youngest that putting plastic beads in her mouth is a bad idea.
Some days, it seems like my children don’t listen to a thing I say. I don’t seem to be making any progress, and I wonder if I will always have to remind them to pick their clothes up off the floor, brush their teeth in the morning, and use a fork when eating their green beans.
But then there are moments when I get to silently observe my oldest two children at play. I watch them play with their dolls. Sometimes they are taking their “children” to church and sometimes they are feeding them a snack or putting them to bed. My daughters talk to their dolls, and, as I listen, I realize they sound exactly like me. Their words are like mine. Their tone is like mine. Their actions are like mine. It is then that I realize that they are listening. And they are learning from me, even when I don’t realize it.
It’s a little scary to realize that small people are constantly watching me and mimicking everything I do. What am I teaching them? I’m not just teaching them about how to do simple chores around the house, practice good hygiene, recognize their alphabet, and count to a hundred. I’m teaching them about life. I’m teaching them how to relate to other people. I’m teaching them what it means to be a Christian wife and mother.
I’m not perfect. There’s a lot about me that I hope my children will never mimic. But teaching my children is not something that I can shy away from. My only hope is the only hope I need—God. More and more, I find myself on my knees begging for the grace and strength to lead my children in the paths of righteousness. I pray for the fortitude to get up and try again after yet another miserable failure. I pray for wisdom and discernment to know what and when to teach them. And God always answers. He always provides what I need.
As I write this, my children are napping. When they wake up we will have a snack and then take a walk to a nearby playground. As we walk, I will try to point out all the wonderful things that God created, but we will probably end up talking about whatever random things come to their minds. They might not let me talk at all. But even if I don’t speak a single word, I will be teaching. And they will be learning.