My children were so proud of their father. He had just finished his 4th Marathon in 18 months. He smashed his personal record by another 3 minutes. His finish time was 3:02, a 6:59/mile average. CRAZY!! My children are so proud of him when he runs. He is setting an example to them that there is nothing is impossible with determination, hard work and training. Two of my children have already said they are going to run marathons when they grow up.
My husband’s achievements are incredible to me and the average person who does not run 26.2 miles for pleasure. However, that is not the only way to set an example for our children. Our children listen to what we say, they watch what we do, they hear the degrading remarks we say to ourselves as well as the the kind acts we quietly preform. They are absorbing who we are as people from the job we work to the relationships we keep to the way we practice our faith. They are like sponges learning how to live through our example. Yes, they have other influences, school, friends, media, video games, music etc but they live their formative years with us as their first teachers.
We as parents are teachers but not the kind that goes into the classroom prepared with what to teach. We are on the job 24/7 in a good mood or a bad mood. We make mistakes, we say things we wish we could erase and we do things we wish they did not see. We also do good things. We help them when they throw up or are sick, we hug them before they knew they needed it, they overhear us talking to God and treating others with respect. We as parents don’t have to run a marathon to set an excellent example for our children. We just have to be authentic, loving, nurturing, caring and the best we can be in our lives. When they see us cry they realize it is ok to cry. When they see us fail and get back up again they learn perseverance. When they watch us struggle they learn how to live with difficulties. We as family do not exist in a bubble of happiness and should not teach them that. They need to learn how to live, give and love.
As parents we have received the most precious gifts on loan from God. Let us love them, lead them and guide them to live a fulfilled life through our examples through our lives.