If you are anything like me, your mental wheels are constantly spinning and examining how to ensure your child is not only developing based on their hierarchy of needs, but in their relation to others. In addition to ensuring physical and mental well-being, I like to assess my children’s development towards becoming “good” people. I’d like to know that they would intercede if a bully is harassing a classmate, hold doors for people, help an elder stand, share a snack or give free hugs. You know, the acts of kindness that have healing power. But I have to trust my goodness yields goodness in my children.
As much as I try to model good behavior, I mess up and may unintentionally demonstrate a negative response. Despite that, it is my hope that my kids find my good attributes interesting and worthy of replicating. To increase my chances of transferring goodness, I talk, share and provide narratives to provide practical perspectives of life. Some use biblical principles. Others use life’s lessons. Both are great, but I think it is important to draw the parallels to life for correlation and application. Let’s be honest, despite the hope of “good transfer”, kids can still turn out to be creeps! So, what’s the true litmus test? How do we know they are evolving and considering others in the process? To me, it is action; the tangible manifestation of thoughts.
My son unknowingly gave me an object lesson a few weeks ago. After picking him up from school, he asked if I would take him to the local corner store for a snack. For some reason, actually keeping money burns a hole in his pocket and he has to spend it. I agreed to take him. He was having a good week at school so why not? Upon arrival to the store, we notice a homeless man sitting out front. He was requesting spare change. I notoriously do not carry cash. I kindly say, “Sir, I do not have any change.”
As we enter the store, I casually comment about how I wished I’d kept change for instances like this. We proceed to shop; my son makes his selection and we proceed to checkout. I notice he was not going to use all of his money. I quickly and excitedly say, “You should give it to the gentleman outside!” I really wasn’t able to finish that statement before he interrupted by saying, “That’s what I was going to do, Mom.” I immediately felt regret for stepping in and making the suggestion and somehow diminishing his choice to do good. In that moment I didn’t trust my on “good transfer” nor his judgement.
Nonetheless, we left the store, made our way to the gentleman and gave him the change. I was sure to commend my son for his choice and affirm just how good of a person he was, but that instance taught me a few things:
Shut up. Don’t interceded and trust that you are cultivating positive people that make good choices. At times, it is okay to be a silent partner in their development.
Kids listen and watch. Yes, they will pick up our bad habits, but they get the good ones too.
Never stop being their first and best model of goodness. They trust us. They watch us and, in many instances, want to be us.
Our kids are great teachers too. As much as we try to model behaviors for our children, they can model for us as well.
Trust, your goodness yields goodness in your children. Keep being good to others.
Rolandria Boyce is a wife, mother, dancer, public health advocate, and tired because of the aforementioned. Moms rule.
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