As 2016 approaches, I catch myself auditing my 2015 Parent Year in Review while in line for coffee, en route to a meeting or making school lunches. I am reminded how impressionable my kids are and how my actions imprint on them. At the end of the day, we set the examples in which they learn from and, just recently, I was reminded of that when I asked my five year old to make his bed.
After a it's too quiet in there period of time, I peaked in his room and he was stripping his bed -- no sheets, pillow cases or blanket. He met my what-are-you-doing look of shock with genuine exasperation, “I’m making my bed, that’s what you told me to do! It’s laundry day!” ( It was laundry day -- I had NO idea that he even knew there was a 'laundry day.')
Lesson learned; whether intended or not, our kids learn by watching us.
So, as this year winds down and I assess 2015, I look to the tenets of save, spend and share -- the anchors that helped me launch my company, iPiggiBank, and life anchors in positive modeling.
Save: Did I set an example for my children on the reward of saving for something special? Or, in my haste, did I succumb to the easy, pleasing route – instant gratification? My boys’ have saved their Halloween candy all the way through December so perhaps I have made a dent here.
Spend: Did I spend time with my kids really listening to them, playing with them and seizing teachable moments? Being transparent, there were days that were busier and more overwhelming than others. I found that carving out additional time can be near impossible, but seizing opportunities in life’s mundane routines worked for my family. For example, I started to make it a practice in 2015 to discuss with my three sons that we have a grocery budget and we cannot throw every sugary cereal into our basket. This actually works for us (sorry, Fruit Loops).
Share: Did I model for my children how important it is to give back to their community by sharing their time and money? This year, my boys put forth a tremendous team effort to give back to the teachers who, after all, give them one of the greatest gifts of all – the gift of education. They personally delivered hand crafted breakfast trays to the school. Note, I say hand crafted not mom crafted. This is a proud moment that I will cherish for a long time and I look forward to many more sharing moments like this in 2016.
As I reflect on my 2015 Parent Year in Review, I see clearly which seeds have taken root, which are growing, and where I should start planting.
That's the great thing about a new year -- it's a fresh start to embark on being the best you can be. So, let’s set an example of our best selves, after all, our kids are watching.
I challenge other parents to reflect on the past year and share which ways they would build on their parenting successes and challenges. Parenting is a village, I’d love to learn from you.