Do your children understand that it’s them?
By John Croyle
Since 1974, we at Big Oak Ranch have spent each day practically earning a Doctorate of Life Instruction. Our more than 2,000 instructors have taught us many things when it comes to raising children. One of the biggest things I have learned is that children are born with the ability to read us as parents. We are living our lives right in front of them, yet we don’t even realize how closely we are being watched.
It is a proven fact that small children absolutely love stories. They will literally sit quietly, wide-eyed, and listen to every word that comes from your lips. Yes, I fully understand the attention–span factor. You can guess–timate that if your child is between the ages of 1 and 6 years old, you can multiply their age by one minute. For example: You can hold a 5-year-old’s attention for five minutes if you’re a really good storyteller telling a really good story.
As they grow older, they are not quite as attentive with their listening as they were when they were young children. But what we’ve noticed is that instead of listening to our story, they watch our story. They hear, see, and record everything we do poorly and everything we do well. This is especially true and very obvious when they turn 12 years old and they get what we call “figure–it–out” skills. They know if you are the real deal or not. That built–in filter kicks in and lets them weed out any “garbage” we try to pass by them. I promise you that you can’t! A lot of times, they know you better than you know yourself.
It is a fact that as our children grow up, their listening ears become watching eyes. Children listen with their eyes.
They watch the way that you treat other people. How do you treat their mom or dad, their friends, strangers, and them?
They watch the way you make decisions. Try to think about every circumstance in your life where you have had to make a tough decision. Have you not only made the right decision, but also taken the proper steps in order to make that decision?
They watch the way you handle adversity. What do you do if you don’t have enough money to pay the bills? What do you do if someone in the lane next to you cuts you off in traffic?
They watch the way you live your life!
If what your children are learning from you is not something you want them to emulate, I want you to know that it is never too late to change the direction of your family.
Today, let’s make up our minds to give them a good story to watch and learn from. Be the person your children can be proud of. It’s your decision.