One important lesson I learned as a mother was that my children learned more by what was “caught” than “taught.”
Of course we need to teach our children. However, they are always watching us, taking it all in, absorbing what they are seeing, and that is where the real lessons are caught. Our actions teach either positive or negative behaviors all day long.
Examples of what is “caught”
My husband of 37 years has always taken a prayer time early in the morning. When my children would wake up and go into the kitchen, the first thing they would see every morning was their dad praying and reading the Bible. (Now moms don’t start complaining that you wish your husband did that). We taught them to pray, but seeing their dad consistently taking time with the Lord spoke much louder than any words.
When I was growing up, my dad picked up litter wherever he went. Because of that I have a hard time just walking by litter on the ground. As I follow his example and stop and pick it up, I am passing that good quality on.
What are your children observing?
Is your home a happy home filled with joy and laughter? This is a big one for them to catch. If you are often yelling at your children or spouse, or appear mad and moody, look out. The children will most likely be yelling at you and each other. Laughter is so so important!! I can’t over emphasize it. It’s what Christian homes need more of.
If your children help you make a dish of food for someone in need, and you take it to that person together, that will be remembered. Kindness and compassion go a long way.
If you are on your phone and Facebook a good part of the day….then you will have a real battle telling them to limit their screen time. Phones and electronics are a #1 battle these days. What are they catching from you?
If you teach your children not to complain, but you complain, forget it.
Do you talk about other people negatively or positively? Whichever one – it’s caught.
The example of Pope Francis
Pope Francis is a great example to me of this concept. Of course, his homilies and encyclicals are amazing! But what really grabs my attention is when I see photos or videos of him:
- hugging and kissing a man full of tumors
- washing and kissing the feet of refugees and prisoners
- choosing to ride in a bus over the pope limo
- watching him smile and dialogue with leaders of all religions, Christian and non-Christian.
While observing these actions, I start to “catch” on.
Positive and negative actions shout volumes. What is caught beats out what is taught. So be attentive. Sets of eyes are watching you closer than you think.
Mary Ann / Mother Hen