We teach our kids a lot of lessons:
- How to tie your shoes laces.
- How to eat properly at the table.
- The value of play and exercise.
- What is the proper way to be a Jets fan.
One of the most important lessons that we teach our children is taking responsibility for your actions. In our house, Lady C ALWAYS has a reason why the thing that just happened “wasn’t her fault”:
“You stopped me before I could do the right thing.”
“I didn’t mean to but Grandma made me do it.”
“I thought you said to do it.”
“So-and-so did it so I can’t be blamed for my actions.”
Just a few weeks ago, I stopped her from spouting one of her many excuses and said,
“Just own up to it and say I’m sorry. Don’t blame someone else for your actions!”
Good advice…so I thought.
Until recently, when I realized that I wasn’t following myself!
I had done something wrong (as we husbands are prone to do) and immediately I started spewing a bunch of excuses (you know: the tools of the weak and incompetent, used to build monuments of nothingness? Yeah…those!). All of a sudden I heard the words that I had told my daughter coming from my wife’s mouth… to me. Jarring. In that moment, I realized a few things:
Sometimes we need to listen to our own advice/lessons. Children can make you revisit the basics of human behavior because they’re at the starting blocks of their life. The lessons they’re learning should still be important to us but we forget sometimes.
Watch your actions: you’re kids are watching. I know we hear that all the time but most of the time we’re talking about really bad stuff like drinking, smoking, or domestic violence. It applies to bad habits like making excuses too. Now, I don’t know that Lady C sees that from me and copies it, but now I will be conscious of it.
Be easy on your kids: they’re still learning. Sometimes I get frustrated that I have to say the same thing over and over again. After a while you should get this, right? Well clearly, some things stay with us all of our life and we have to keep working on it. If I’m still hammering away at it, it stands to reason that it’s an even more difficult concept for a kid to grasp!