A few days ago I spent the morning with my friend Amy, a 45 year-old mom and her 12 year-old daughter, Sara. For more than an hour we talked about Sara’s dream to be a recording artist when she’s older. Both her mother and I encouraged her and told her that she could do anything she set her mind to. We supported her 100% with great enthusiasm.
Interestingly enough, I asked Amy, the mom, about her own dream. Shyly, she told me that she’d love to be a writer and actually has a book or two in her closet that she wrote but “put away”. When I asked her why she put them away, she told me that she didn’t think they would be good enough to share with others.
I sat back and listened to her and was reminded of an experience more than 10 years ago with my own daughter, Carly. I was encouraging Carly to follow her dream… “You can be anything, do anything or create anything in your life- anything!” I told her. She stopped me by asking, “Mom, do you really believe that?” I told her that I did, only to have her turn it around and ask me, “If that’s true, then why aren’t you following your dream Mom?”
I was stunned. It’s my job as a mother to encourage, teach and guide my daughter… yet once again, here she was teaching ME something important. She told me that if I wanted her to really believe that she could do anything, then I had to show her by my example that I lived MY life that way too. After all, why would it apply to her and not to me?
In hearing Amy’s conversation with her daughter this morning, it all came back to me. I shared my story with them and told Amy that if she really wanted Sara to follow her dreams, it first starts with Amy following her own! Sara will learn by Amy’s example more than she will ever learn by Amy’s words.
Even in Nature, a mother eagle shows the eaglet how to fly and the mama bear teaches the cub how to find good berries- by example. Yet sometimes as mothers we sacrifice our happiness, our opportunity or our passion, for our kids- thinking that we’re “doing it for them”.
Perhaps the best gift we can give to our children is our example of living a expressive, totally fulfilled life. We need to model the life we wish for our children.
We are here to shine! Whether we are a mother or a daughter, a father or a son- we have an obligation to ourselves to be the best that we can be. From that alone, we can then be an incredible example to others as our world fills with possibility.
What talent have you been hiding in your closet? It’s time to bring it out and share that book or those songs. You were given your talent for a reason, so please share it with us! And, please free to share your thoughts below too. I look forward to hearing your success stories of how you are inspiring your children through your example.
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One example of keeping one’s temper and using words to solve problems: My daughters were young, but old enough to write. My two youngest were literally tearing through the house, upstairs and down, screaming at each other. …Each blaming the other for her failings and general terrible-ness.
I had them both come downstairs and sit across from each other, giving them each a piece of paper and a pencil. Setting a kitchen timer between them, I told them that they could not move from the spot until they had each spent the next ten minutes writing what they loved most about the other.
The silence (with the exception of the ticking of the timer) was deafening for a couple of minutes, until I heard scribblings from both girls. Once the timer chimed, I picked up each piece of paper and handed it to the opposite girl and asked her to read aloud from her sister’s list.
The first entries were toss-aways like, “I love that her face looks like a monkey’s”…but pretty soon, the real compliments started coming. At the end of the session, both girls were giggling and peace was restored in the house. For awhile.
From that point, the girls have always been each others’ best friends. Even when they don’t get along, they love each other, and it shows.
That is such a brilliant idea and a beautiful gift to your daughters! This makes me want to do this today with my siblings… could be a great experience even now. Thank you for sharing this!
I volunteered with an organizaion who distributed goods to Pine Ridge Reservation. While the truck of donations was being unloaded, I took photos of a couple of Native American children who played with a gently used toy garage. The children didn’t have toy cars and so they pretended with rocks.
When I showed my grandson photos of the reservation trip and explained that the children didn’t have many toys, he wanted to give them some of his cars. Before every birthday or Christmas, my grandson’s mom urges him to choose toys to give away and he remembers the children in the photo who will benefit.
An excellent point that I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time. I believe this is the aspect of parenting where many well meaning parents fall short. I have been guilty of it myself at times, although I think I am more aware of it than other people I know. When children are babies we instinctively understand that we need to lead by example, but as they get older I think we forget. Thank you for the reminder 🙂
Children should always be encouraged to chase their dreams and listen to their heart. They should also be told to chase for excellence and not success as success will come if you are excellent in what you do. Excellence equals success.