What does it mean to set a good example? From the time I can remember, I always heard my mother say that I needed to set a good example for my younger sister, but I never really knew if I’d succeeded. Since we both grew up to be responsible adults with good job, families, and values, I assume I manged quite well. Today, as my musings on the letter E, I’ve decided to talk about setting an example.
As parents, my husband and always sought to give our children positive role models. We were committed to our family. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my kids until they were all in school. During that time, I did all the mommy things–I baked, did crafts, took them to the park. We went on family holidays. In short, we showed them what being part of a family was like, and fostered a close relationship amongst them. Sure, they fought and argued growing up, but they also defended one another. As my son put it once,”nobody picks on my sister except me.”
When I went back to school and finished my education, we showed them the value of following through with something. WE showed by example that education was important. Once I graduated with my teaching degree, I showed them the example of working hard and being dedicated to a career. My husband has always had a strong work ethic, and I did too, a work ethic that has been passed on to all of them, and shows in how well each one is doing in their chosen field.
When the kids were old enough to want stuff–extras, we taught them the value of earning money. There were no giveaways. At first, they did chores for allowance–keep their rooms, tidy, make their beds, garbage, dishes, rake the yard. clean the snow. Maybe the beds weren’t always made the way I’d do them, but the effort was there. When they were old enough, they got paper routes where they learned how to manage money and be responsible by paying their paper bills on time. By example, we showed them the value of saving for a special something. From paper routes, they moved on to part time jobs.
Being a team player was also something we instilled in them by example. If they wanted to play a sport, then they were committed to the team for the season. We went and cheered them on, drove them to tournaments, whatever it took. Today, as adults, they continue to participate in sports and have the grandkids playing too. Needless to say, Grandma and Grandpa show up to cheer them on.
Today, I’m very proud of the example we set for our children. My sons and daughter all have an excellent work ethic. They value the family connection we forged when they were young and will do anything to help one another. My daughter has four children and she is the best mommy in the universe. How do I know? Because when my 8 year-old grand-daughter had to write a composition about a Superhero, she wrote that her mom was her Superhero.
When I told my daughter how proud I was of her, a widow with 4 kids under ten, she said to me. “Mom, you and Dad set the example. I’m just doing what you taught me.” I’m humbled.
Now, please drop by and read some of the other “E” posts.