Ever heard the saying “more is caught than taught?”
If not, it refers to the fact that your kids will “catch” more from you than you’ll ever teach them. And if you’ve raised kids for any amount of time, you know this to be true!
I had heard this saying for years, but it didn’t really become a reality to me until my kids started getting a little older. Then, slowly but surely, I began to see myself in the way they would deal with one another, the things they would say, and unfortunately, in some of their poor behavior.
I’ve always seen this principle at work in other families, but I didn’t realize that it was actually a “thing” until I started paying closer attention to it. It’s very interesting (and very sobering) that children actually “catch” the mannerisms and qualities of their parents!
I’ve personally come to refer to this principle as “absorbing.” I like to say that our kids absorb who we are. In fact, Jesus speaks to this when He says “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9). Jesus was the exact representation of the character and nature of God, His Father, who He spent much time with.
I think it’s safe to say that as mamas, we want our kids to absorb good things from us. We may not have fully mature character, but we want to maximize the good things that they absorb.
To do this, we’re gonna need to follow the principle of modeling + teaching (not just teaching alone). In this post, I’m gonna talk about what we can do about this amazing concept of absorption and how we can use it to build good character in ourselves and our kids. If this is what you desire for your household, then here are six ways you can start responding today!
Your kids will show you your areas of weakness
All kids come into the world self-centered. You can see this from the moment they enter the world: they demand to be taken care of, and they are needy with no regrets.
So don’t feel too bad when you see this from your kids-it’s not all your fault that they’re selfish.
As they get older, there are certain things they may start to do that will get on your nerves. Pay attention to these things, as these may be the things they’re absorbing from you, and they’re areas where you get the opportunity to grow!
Remember that you won’t be able to correct and punish poor behaviors away if you yourself are modeling them. The best thing you can do is to devote yourself to change, and teach along the way.
Start with the mentality that it’s not about you
One of the most transforming things in my life has been understanding what Jesus taught in Matthew 16:24:
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
If I wake up every morning and my kids owe me (respect, obedience, good behavior, etc), then I it’s all about me and I have more of a tendency to complain, get frustrated, and lash out.
But if I wake up in the morning and no one owes me anything, and I’m there to serve, it’s so much more freeing. It releases me to respond correctly and reflect the patient and kind love of Christ to my kiddos.
It’s important to get down to what we believe. We start by changing that so we can adequately change our actions.
Have a plan for training your habits and your thoughts
To change our habits, we need both truth and training. We need to meditate on what’s true and right, and then train ourselves to live out those habits.
All character habits can be changed, regardless of how long we’ve had that habit and how many times we get triggered. You don’t have to live with character deficiencies forever if you don’t want to!
Recognize your trigger points. Does the thought of having to be with your kids all day and night make you frustrated/lonely/depressed/anxious? Do you get angry easily? Do you yell? Do you lack self-control? Focus your mind on the Word of God.
Meditate on truth continuously, every time you get a chance. If you struggle with anger, for example, tell yourself, “I am quick to listen and slow to anger.” (James 1:19) Let it get deep in your spirit. Then, when your kids start fighting, whining, or complaining, have a plan for how you’re gonna direct your actions so you don’t do the same thing over again. Cooperate with the truth of God’s Word, and you’ll be pleased as you watch yourself transform over time!
Have a can-do mentality, with grace
Change happens a little at a time.
Sometimes you may have days of great victory, and other times you may feel like you can’t win for losing. It’s ok; get your thoughts in order and start back up again.
It’s important to make sure you’re winning the battle in your mind that every mom faces. You don’t want to allow deception and the lies of the devil to reign in your thoughts. To read more about standing on truth in motherhood, go here.
Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Encourage yourself forward, and keep your eyes fixed on the truth and how you’re gonna incorporate it. You can do it!
Be honest with your kids
You already know that when you become a mom, your kids do NOT get a perfected version of you. In fact, quite the opposite tends to be true!
Your kids need to see that even though you struggle with things, you’re working toward victory. I believe that letting them in on how we handle life equips them with tools on how to handle similar situations.
You can let your kids know that you’re focusing on improving your character in a certain area. You can even give them permission to call you out on it! Then, as time passes and they see how you’re growing, it will show them that they, too, can grow.
Spend time building ties with your kids
In our day and age, it’s waaaay too easy to let our kids get absorbed in technology and tv.
While I personally don’t think it’s bad or wrong to use technology or media sometimes, I do know that it’s wrong when we use it to substitute for us taking the time to build relational ties with our kids.
We only have our kids for a short period of time, and we don’t want to look back and grieve sacrificing relationship building for media. Connecting with your kids is the absolute best way to transfer what you believe to them, as well as tenderizing your heart to them.
If this is something you feel you struggle with as a mama, I encourage you to go to God in prayer about this and commit it to Him. Ask Him for help and wisdom and be willing to do what he may lay on your heart. He knows what’s best, and you can trust Him. 🙂
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