Over the weekend we celebrated my husband’s thirtieth birthday.  A few weeks ago he made it very clear that he didn’t want gifts for his birthday, just something from the heart.  So, I had the idea of putting together of scrapbook from family and friends with letters written to him.  I’m not much into creativity-  I try, really I do, but it’s just not me.  I love the results, but getting there is usually a nightmare for me, and I end up rushing to get it done just to cross it off my list.  For this project, my motto was- simple, simple, simple.

The Sunday before Filipe’s birthday, I got to work on his birthday book.  Cailyn and Efraim were taking a nap, so I asked Lily if she wanted to help me.  She was pretty curious about what I was doing as I pulled out my stash of scrapbook paper.  “What is all this?!”, she exclaimed.  You would have thought she discovered gold or something.  She helped me pick out the colored paper and cut 8″x8″ pieces of paper (with the paper cutter).  As we were doing this, I explained to her what we were doing- making a book for daddy… and it was a surprise.

A couple days later I started getting some of the letters in, so one afternoon (again during the other kid’s nap) I printed out the letters, and began cutting and cornering them to fit on the paper.  Lily was with me the whole time watching and asking questions.

A couple of days later, Lily was sitting at the kitchen table with a pen and paper.  She asked me how to spell Caedmon & Sammy’s name.  As I spelled it out for her, she wrote their names.  I asked her what she was doing and she said she was writing them a note.  She spent about twenty minutes writing them their “notes”, and put them in envelopes to take to their house that evening.

The next day, Lily was at the table again with a lot of paper, pens, and crayons.  She was very focused and particular about whatever it was she was working on.  Later she told me she was making some cards for daddy’s birthday- and that they were a surprise.

As a mom it’s easy to forget that teaching our children is done more effectively through showing than telling.  I know this in my head, but putting it into practice is much different- especially when I want my kids to understand a particular concept on my timetable.

One thing I want to teach my kids is to do kind things for others- to serve others and put others first.  By watching me do something nice for someone else, it gave Lily the idea to do it to.  I didn’t give her a twenty minute lecture on the importance of serving, I didn’t even ask her if she wanted to contribute anything (I was way more focused on getting it all to look halfway decent).  She just saw what I was doing and wanted to do something like it to.  The best thing about it all was that she didn’t just copy everything I did, she used her own creativity.

Watching all of this take place last week reminded me that when it comes to parenting, showing them what I’m doing speaks much louder than telling and talking and lecturing them about what they should do.

Deut. 6: 5-7 “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.

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  • Oh this is so great! I miss you guys so much and I know that you are such a great mom! You are an awesome example!!

  • Tine

    So true Mandy! They are watching our every move and learning from it. What’s important to us will be what’s important to them, without us even saying a word. Miss u.