Caught Not Taught!

By Adina Cobham Headley

Originally Posted February 9, 2016

In my humble opinion, modeling of behaviors is one the most obvious but underrated forms of parenting! Perhaps you are familiar with that famous saying, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”. Another common saying is, “Don’t just tell me, SHOW ME”! It may also be an understatement for me to suggest that cultural norm and trends across the globe, are ‘caught’ and not necessarily ‘taught’!

Have you ever paid close attention to how babies learn first things? A wave bye-bye, Dada or Mama or first words we want to hear them say. Why just recently, my 12-month old granddaughter watched me while loading the washing machine, and within just a few minutes she grabbed a garment and quickly crawled closer to the machine intent on helping me! Ponder this a moment with me, please. Oh the power of modeling! Our offspring learn faster and mimic our actions and attitude far more quickly than they learn any other language. Talk about the power of silence! For without words, using only actions and attitudes and body language and facial expressions, we as parents, as human beings, model patterns of behaviors that can last a life time in our children. Yes, some characteristics and personality norms are hereditary and we come by them naturally. Why at the very core of human nature is the God-given right of individuality and personal choice! Even today’s developmental and psychological researchers suggest that in every culture, parents or surrogates of children are the natural first models as children mimic behaviors and grow into life patterns.  So, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, positive or negative, societal or family norms are originally ‘caught’ and not ‘taught.  Unpolished or unwanted family traits or societal norms are only addressed, tackled or erase as we grow into adulthood and make the informed choices that would solidify or refine our individual personality.

Therefore, [in conclusion], it behooves us as parents then, to invest in personal parental inventory. A Parenting 101 if you will; of stock taking of those most important behaviors, characteristics, personality traits and habits we truly want our kids to mimic. And it behooves us to be most intentional in personal evaluation as we consider not just the physical, but the emotional and spiritual ‘natural tendencies’ we can foresee in our legacy to our children.

As a closing thought to ponder I pull from Scripture. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he/she must go and when he/she is old/grown, he/she will not stray from it”.

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Ah, The Good Old Days

By: Dr. Dani Vandiviere

Originally posted January 22, 2016

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I received a phone call from a dear friend today who was at her wits end. Yes, her kids had only been home less than one day due to snow but the forecast was calling for at least three more days barricaded inside the war zone her kids were making. Frantically she disclosed the issues and we worked to come up with a resolution.
Her daughter an active high school junior was complaining because she couldn’t go shopping with her BFFs, so she wants to have a sleep over tonight so they could shop online. Her eldest son is fourteen and bugging her about going ahead and buying his first car since he got recent birthday money from the grandparents, and he said he and dad could park it in the garage and work on it when his dad got back from his conference next week. Last but not least was her sweet little ten-year-old son who wanted to play with power tools to build something in the living room because he could not find anything to do!
She wanted help, but also ideas to keep them busy. I adore her and her kids, but they were out of control and she was losing it. With three intelligent kids we tossed around some ideas to bring peace to her house. I had an idea last year that I used last winter with a neighbor that I thought might work this time too. My friend has been doing a project for the past few weeks to surprise her mother with the family ancestry and loves it, she was a history major in college. So I made a suggestion that would play to the interests of all three kids and help her calm down as well.
She would bring the kids together and they would pick a time in history from the family tree and see what life was like back then. They would find a man and a woman and look at what certain months in their lives would have been like. The daughter would look for fashion at that time and then draw designs using various ideas to modernize what she saw and take something from today and design it for back then. Accessories included of course!
The boys would work on researching the tools, transportation and how things were built and of course what the kids played with.
Actually, it worked! When my friend called back all was at peace and kids were enjoying it and they are also working together. As for the BFFs, only the one who lived within walking distance came for the night and she is having as much fun as everyone else.
Being a parent is the most difficult job in the world. Any opportunity you have to work with the strengths and interests of your children is a winner. You not only show them you have paid attention to the things they like to do, but it also gives them a sense of belonging and since you did notice that, you really do care.