“Just like Mom”. My son Daniel says I’ve raised clones. Watching my little girls interact and express themselves, I would have to say that I agree. It sobers me. In spite of ourselves, we train our children to be like us. In many ways, my daughters are far better than me, thankfully. I see my aptitudes and talents inherited by my children. But, I do see my flaws in living color and I wince whenever I do!
You don’t train a child to be patient by making him wait for things. You train a child to be patient by watching you kindly wait for a slow talker to finish his sentence without your interruption. You teach patience by being content for nine months of pregnancy without wishing away each miserable day. You teach patience by standing in a grocery store line and smiling and being pleasant to others instead of pacing and checking your watch.
As far as patience goes, it has taken me 45 years of struggle to begin to make peace with life’s imperfections and slowness. My mind races and I think fast (which is my personal excuse for why I am impatient!), but people need kind and unhurried treatment. It takes time to listen to your spouse. It takes time for a child to print his name correctly. Accomplishing things in this imperfect world take a lot longer than we’d like often. Patience is one of those necessary virtues: the earlier learned, the better.
Children do not learn respect for authority in a Sunday School lesson or from a book. They learn how to respond to authority while driving on the freeway listening to their father talk about “cops”. They learn it whenever their parents discuss the mayor, the president or their church leader. They learn how to respect their own father by listening to their mother’s tone of voice when she talks to Daddy, especially when she disagrees.
The process of creating clones is perfectly sure. Whatever you do–whoever you are–day by day is the pattern and mold you create for your impressionable children to shape themselves by. Things that seem of very little consequence to a mother make a great difference, I suppose because those little acts are clues to your true values. I abhor the thought of dropping a wrapper or paper outdoors. To litter this beautiful world violates my values and touches upon my very beliefs; that God created this world and that we are the caretakers of it. Although leaving a gum wrapper in the park may not seem to be a grave matter, it silently teaches an attitude toward God, this world and our duty to nurture it, that words simply cannot.
What is our responsibility? It is for us personally to so live that our children will be led to act like Jesus when our training is done. Homeschooling only intensifies your influence as your spend more time with your children. This is such a big order for such inadequate human beings! But what an incredible opportunity to leave your legacy in the form of an excellent family of adults, well-raised!