As a homeschooling mom of eight, I have had to remind myself many times over the years that my actions speak louder than my words, and that my children will become what I am, rather than what I teach. They are always watching my reactions, and how I live from day to day. I have to stop and ask myself, “What are your actions saying?”
Back when my kids were younger, and I still had several little ones, I wrote the following article about how my actions were speaking. (It’s still a great reminder to me today, as I have teens at home that are watching.)
It was one of those bitter cold days, and the wind was blowing strong. Unfortunately, I had made plans to get some errands done that day. So, I got all of the kids all bundled up, and off we went. We were running a little behind schedule, so I was kind of on edge. I found myself having to struggle not to get impatient as I tried to rush the kids out the door.
Our first stop had to be the gas station. The tank was on empty and the fuel light kept blinking at me. Since it was SO cold, I went to a full service station near our house. The attendant took my keys to unlock the gas tank and fill it up. But after a minute of fiddling with the key, he brought it back to me. “I’m sorry. Your lock is frozen. You’ll have to go buy some de-icer.”
My response was, “But I’m going to run out of gas!”
He said, “Well, I don’t want to break your key for then you’d really be in trouble.”
I drove away muttering and complaining. I thought that he couldn’t have tried very hard or he would have gotten it to open.
My kids knew I was upset, and asked what was wrong. I told them,”We’re going to run out of gas, and that guy won’t even try to open it!”
I pulled around the corner and stopped. I decided that I’d try to get it open. I wasn’t sure I had enough gas to make it to the store for de-icer. I stomped out there with my key, and sure enough, it WAS frozen, and it wouldn’t open!
Needless to say, I wasn’t in a good frame of mind by now at all. I got back in, muttering under my breath, and turned the van on to head to the store.
We had been listening to a music tape in the van while we were driving, but I hadn’t really heard much of it because I was too preoccupied with my problems.
However, the song that came on when I started the van back up couldn’t be ignored!!. It was the Thren family singing, “Wherever I am, I’ll praise Him; whenever I can, I’ll praise Him.”
I stopped the van again and turned around to my kids. I told them that I was acting wrong, and reminded them that we are to give thanks in EVERYTHING, not just when things are going our way. I asked them to forgive me, and then I prayed and asked God to forgive me.
By the way, we DID make it to the store, and then back to the station for gas. But even more important, I was able to take an everyday experience and teach a Bible truth to my children.
Our actions say more to them than we realize, and I’m glad God opened my eyes to what I was teaching!
Rosie, that saying “out of the mouth of babes” takes on real meaning when you have those outspoken kids, doesn’t it? 🙂 Listening to my kids say things in a tone I have used that isn’t very kind, always served as a great reminder to me to be more careful of my example!
Oh how true. I am in the early-ish years with only two, but still am often reminded by both very outspoken kids when my actions are wrong. Isn’t it great when you hear them say exactly what you have been saying … only, it doesn’t sound so nice coming out of their mouths. Yup, that has caused me to pause more now before I speak. I also try to vocalize when I think we should pray or when I am worried about something, and talk it over with them. Kids are amazingly forgiving when given the chance.