On Being A Role Model to Our Kids…

Welcome to Mom-Monday. I’m glad you’re here!

I’ve mentioned before one of the frustrations that sometimes comes with being a parent: we want to be role models for our kids, yet we’re far from perfect.
No matter how much we try to be loving, consistent, patient, and make the all the right parenting decisions all the time, we’re human and we make mistakes.

But that’s okay.

We don’t have to be perfect moms and dads (is there such a thing, anyway?) to set a positive example for our kids.

Often, it’s not the big, intentional lessons we set out to teach them that make the most impact.

Sometimes, it’s the small, everyday things…

Just this week, when my daughter and I were out running errands, as we walked to our car, she said, “Wait, Mommy.”

She turned and headed in the opposite direction, a couple cars over.

Then she bent down, picked up a piece of half-crumpled newspaper that was on the ground, and ran back over to me.

“Gotta pick this up,” she said, matter-of-fact.

And I realized…she’s noticed when I stop and pick up litter off the ground as we’re walking to school, or inside a store, or in a parking lot.

Then, just a couple days later, I let her and her brother go to the snack bar at the gym while I stayed at a table nearby. I’d given them $5.00 to split a smoothie. When she came back and sat down, I asked her if she’d gotten any change.

She smiled at said, “Yeah, but I put in the tip jar.”

And again, I thought with a smile…she sees when I put the change in the tip jar at Starbucks. Or the car wash. Or wherever we happen to be.

These weren’t lessons I deliberately set out to teach her.

They weren’t things I talked about.

They were things I just did.

And seeing my ten-year-old daughter do them too was a reminder of how everyday things can impact our kids.

And even though I sometimes see a hint of embarrassment in my kids’ eyes when I do things like stop and thank men and women in military uniforms for their sacrifice for our country, I hope that one day, my kids will do the same.

And something tells me that they will. :)

What do you think? Have you ever been surprised by something your kids have picked up on when you didn’t know they were watching? What about some things you’ve done that have had a positive impact on them? I’d love to hear from you…

If you haven’t already, leave your URL in the link list below, so other moms can stop by your site and say hi. It’s a simple way for moms to come alongside other moms.


  1. It is so true that our kids do as we do, not do as we say. They absorb who we are as we mentor our lives just by being around them.Unfortunately, they suck in all the rotten attitudes and motives we have as well BUT… … I'm a profound believer that they will thrive INSPITE of us not because of us when we stand as a signpost and point them to the One Who is a perfect parent.

  2. There's been tons of times where I've been surprised, both good ways and bad. LOL My son tends to say things the way I do, esp. to his little brothers.You're so right! They totally learn by example. I also think it's a good thing when us mommies mess up to let our kids know. It's not gonna hurt for them to know we're less than perfect and that we need help being good too. LOLGreat post Genny! Makes me think about my actions and if they're picking anything good up out of them.And go you for thanking servicemen! That's so cool. :-)

  3. Oh, Mom Mondays! What a great idea. And you chose a good topic to discuss, too. My girlfriend and I were having this same conversation today over breakfast, so I'm curious to see what all the other moms have to say. Thanks!As for your little girl, she sounds sweet. I hope mine will turn out so well!

  4. MOre is caught then taught….MAN I try to remember that in all I do!!! I try to pray every time we see an emergency vehicle drive by…out loud… with the kids.I LOVE how you stop military people and thank them… I have always wanted to, but never had the courage!!!Blessings-Amanda

  5. I completely agree that it's good for our kids to see us make mistakes. And I love the quote "more is caught than taught."So true!

  6. I think this is often the area most parents don't realize, sometimes I also forget it. It's in the everyday bustle of life that our kids see who we are. I am pleased to say that the kindness they show each other, those they love, & total strangers has often astounded me. Mr. J told me one day it's like Mommy & Daddy "dos".

  7. Hi Genny, thanks for the post. It is a good reminder for me especially since my son is only 16 months old, and I have yet to really learn what he is picking up on, but I am starting to see if. One thing I have noticed is that when we meet people, we often shake their hands, and twice already, my son has extended his little hand standing there at 30" tall to shake someone's hand when he meets new people. It is pretty neat to see this, and the people we meet are often shocked at this. I can't wait to see the other little things he will pick up on, I just hope that I am setting a good enough example for him day to day:) Thanks again. Love your posts!

  8. Jaime,I love the image of your 16-month-old extending his hand…so cute! Thanks for your sweet words. I tried to reply, but Blogger said your profile wasn't available. Hope you stop back by to read this. :)

  9. Kids are what they live and they watch us, even when we don't think they are. I have to watch my mouth sometimes because if I'm on the phone, I know my litle one may be able to hear me!

  10. I'm always a hint amused when my children say something that I would say. Recently, I was hurrying my son through his bedtime routine and he said, "Mama, you don't want to hurry through life and not enjoy it." I laughed and realized that was something I had said to him days before.

  11. Such a sweet post! I hope my son will do nice little things like this when he is older. I can already tell he watches and listens to EVERYthing! He often copies things that I do habitually, and I watch him and chuckle a little bit. I just can't believe it sometimes! I do have to share one thing he does which isn't necessarily a good thing, but I think it's kinda cute. Many times when I make his food, I stick a clean finger in it to see if the temperature is "just right" for him, then out of habit, I lick the excess food off my finger. I've seen him do this a couple of times… he'll stick his finger in his food, then put it in his mouth and say, "Mmm.." :) Some good things he does are helping me with laundry and picking up his toys… I hope this continues. ;)

  12. Kristin and Mama Mel…such great examples. Your kids sound like cuties!

  13. She's quite the savvy kiddo! Thanks to your daughter from one who worked more years than I can remember in the food service industry. Tips…they're where it's at!

  14. so true I know Will watching everything I do and even when I think he isn't paying attention he is. How great that you thank military folks, I need to start doing that.

  15. My husband and I often remind ourselves that parenting is more about who we ARE than what we DO. We know that our girls are watching us, learning from our words and our actions. It's a sobering thought, but it's oh-so-true. That reality makes me a better person all of the time. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mom…stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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