Setting an Example

I stayed home on Friday.  Audrey was (and still is) sick.

I finished the cleaning that I started on Thursday while she relived her younger years by watching Sesame Street.  When I finished, I invited her to come up and climb into my bed while I ran on the treadmill (which is in my room) so we could talk and watch “Ellen” together.

I was only in my first mile when Audrey said, “I’m proud of you, Mom.”

She made me so happy.

Both of my girls are vegetarians.  The other day, Emily, my older daughter, said that she thought that when she was older she would probably go totally animal-free.

She made me so happy.

I never really thought much about setting examples of these kind before.  Most of my motives for eating and staying in shape have been pretty selfish–I want to live a long life so that I can see all the great things my kids will do.  And after my heart attack (almost a year ago), I was even more motivated.

But Audrey’s and Emily’s comments started me thinking about how a standard of normalcy gets created.  It has become very apparent that my kids are internalizing, very deeply, what we do and what we ask of them.  Like trees and the deep layers of ice that tell the story of the environments that penetrated their formation over time, our kids are constantly, subconsciously and consciously, making judgments and shaping their expectations by our behaviors and the consistency of our words and actions.

From what we buy, to how we speak of others, to what we eat and how (often) we exercise, to our general attitude about life, this is what our kids know as normal for the world.

I’m very proud of my kids.  I can’t wait to see what kind of adults they’ll be and how they’ll balance their own discoveries with the lessons they’ve taken from my husband and me.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Lori – enjoyed catching up with your posts especially this one. I forwarded to my sister who, like you, is setting a good example for her children.
    In addition to reading your blog, I’m reading a book by Pema Chodron called No Time to Lose. In it she paraphrases the Dharmapada (a compilation of the Buddha’s teachings) which states that great suffering can awaken great compassion.
    Your post above captures that spirit.
    Thank you!


  2. Thanks Joel. Your comments mean a lot to me.


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