The Power of Example

Parenting Special Needs ExampleSaturdays usually mean house cleaning and yard work. Recently, our Saturdays also include club soccer for Ellie and Levi. This has created a bit of chaos because they usually play at different venues at the same time. So Saturdays usually have a rushed feeling as we try to get everything accomplished.

The last Saturday of September was no exception. Grace had speech therapy in the morning and we had limited time to get house and yard work done before soccer began. Cheryl did an amazing job of getting everyone to do some housework. However, there really wasn’t time for much yard work because soccer started at 11:00 and went all afternoon. However, I had some time and decided it would be a day of example for yard work.

I went out to the backyard where there were a lot of weeds and started pulling. I didn’t ask anyone to come help me or even mention to the children that I was going to do yard work. After 15 minutes, I heard the back door and Levi appeared with a pair of gloves on to help me. Cheryl had asked if anyone wanted to help dad and Levi answered the call. After asking what he could do I gave him a weeding tool and set him to work. He stayed almost to the end and filled 2 five gallon buckets with weeds.

Setting an example has been on my mind a lot this week. I had the opportunity to run the house by myself when Cheryl took a couple of days to bond with friends. I thought about what example I was setting during those days and how it affects my children.

One of the examples I’m trying to set is being present. We’ve seen lately a tendency for everyone to go to their own corner of the house and be alone. So, I decided that I would be present in a main room of the house and invite the children to come out and have fun. This created moments when we were able to play games and enjoy each other’s company.

Children are very observant. Lia is constantly reminding me about the example I set. It usually comes in the form of “Well, you did this with Sam . . . so why can’t we . . . .” In those moments I have to take a deep breath and realize what kind of example I have set. I also have to remain calm as I explain why Sam needed that activity and how her needs are different.

Here is a list of areas where I feel examples are important:

  • Work – as I work from home, do my children see me doing my best?
  • Play – do my children see me having fun?
  • Chores – am I doing my part in keeping the house clean and maintained?
  • Relationship with Cheryl – how am I showing my love for her?
  • Relationship with each child – does each child feel loved? do they feel like I’m interested in what they do?

There are lots of other areas I set examples in, but these are the ones I feel are most important right now.

What about you? Where do you set examples in life? What effect does your example have on others?

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