I often get flabbergasted by things my children do:

They leave their shoes around the house.

They get frustrated with each other which leads to some not-so-nice confrontations. (It seems that this usually happens in the back yard where I’m sure all the neighbors within a mile radius are shaking their heads thinking to themselves, “why can’t that crazy family control those kids?!”)

They get distracted from the tasks they’re supposed to be doing.

They act as if I’m invisible…my words or instructions get lost on the way to their ears.

They are sometimes not as compassionate to others as I wish they would be.

When I notice these things that bother me I immediately try to come up with a plan of action:

“There will be a charge for all shoes left out!” I exclaim in a huff when I trip over their shoes. I rent the movie “A Little Princess” deep down hoping that psychologically if they watch it their hearts will start to spill over with empathy for others. I sit them on our bottom step and tell them they must stay there until they can speak respectfully to each other. Or I tell them to “start over” with the proper respect we expect in our family.

And then, without fail, it seems I’ll notice things:

My shoes will be in the middle of the kitchen floor.

I’ll get frustrated and speak in an irritated tone to them.

I’ll get distracted doing four different things at the same time.

Claire will take my face in her hands, look me right in the eye and say, “you’re not using your listening ears.” (ok, that only happened once, but I thought it was cute and a good reminder I may not listen any better than they do).

“Shake it off!” I’ll tell them when they come to me with their knee bleeding. Where’s the compassion there?

Hmmmmm….it seems I’m the one who may need to sit on that bottom step or make some time to watch “A Little Princess.”

‘Cause this is what I like to see:
(But from the looks of them, maybe I should brush my hair more too… 🙂

It’s amazing the power of example a mother possesses over her children, for good or for bad. Sometimes it almost scares me a little!

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  1. This is so true. My children are grown, but I make sure i watch closely what I say to the grandchildren. After a very long and stressful day of work. Nothing is sharper then a tongue. Wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. oh, man. yes. I've been wondering why my 4 year old has been yelling in frustration lately. Imagine my surprise when she said, "mom, you aren't talking nice right now." I guess I'm the one who needs to tone it down.

  3. I absolutely LOVE this.. and couldn't agree more. I was just reminded of this yesterday when I blogged about my sons behavior.. it's like I'm looking into a mirror with him sometimes. As moms we try to lead by example.. we just need to remember that they're not only watching our good behavior, but also our not so perfect moments as well.

  4. Amen! I struggle all the time in keeping my behavior and actions consistent with what I am asking/desiring of my kids Thanks for this post. . . I'm going to try much harder to be a good example to my kids today!

  5. This is so true. I've been praying about this a lot lately. The other day our 6 yr old said, "mom, you didn't say that in a very good mood." ahhh. I'm working on it. Thanks for your honest words.

  6. You sound a lot like my mom because she did a lot of the same things that you do! When we left our shoes around she would often throw them down the basement steps! (Do you have basements in Utah?) I often remember having to "start over" or my mom would often say, "Excuse me?!" (and then I knew I needed to start over!) Long story short, I turned out okay, so I'm sure that your kids will too!

    – Heather

  7. Oh I loved this post! So true, thanks for the gentle reminder. Funny, we just watched that movie on netflix! And the thing about kids arguing in the yard/neighbors is often on my mind, although I cannot picture your adorable bunch doing that at all!

  8. I'm so thankful for my mother. I am where I am today because of her example. She sacrificed so much for me. Mothers are so important. Thank you for this post it reminded me of how much I appreciate my mother.

  9. I needed this. It's good to know all of our kids do the same things and that we can choose to respond nicely. We need to do more enjoying of our kids and less yelling at them and complaining about them.

  10. Hilarious! I did the same thing with my shoes this week.

    I told my oldest that she should NOT leave her church shoes in the living room OR by the kitchen chair after church on Sunday. She said she wouldn't, and she didn't; she left them outside by the bench instead, on the grass. Thankfully she brought them in before the sprinklers could get them!

    On another subject–I was wondering if you would do some more photo lessons for dealing with the eternal sun we have. You do seem to have trees up there in St. George; down here in Vegas my poor children think that tall trees are palm trees! I do plenty of indoor photogrpahy but I really have trouble with the bright light and NO shade anywhere that we deal with. I would love some tips for correct aperture settings in the white-hot sun.

    And I hear you on the black feet; my children are outside all the time again!

  11. Thank you so much for this post. I had to sit back and go, "Oh yeah…how many times do I do the same things I'm getting after the kids for." I love taking a few minutes to check in on your blog and the inspiration, motivation,and hope it gives me. You are truly a wonderful lady and I appreciate you sharing your wisdom, example and testimony with us.

  12. So true! When I hear frustration in my oldest's voice as she is explaining something to one of the younger children I am reminded that she learned that tone from me. Patience takes practice… why do I so often forget that?

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