Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk. – Carl Jung
I read this quote by Carl Jung this morning as I have been thinking about the upcoming birth of my first grandchild. What words of wisdom can I pass to her parents, my daughter and son-in-law?
Frankly I think the words of Jung will do quite nicely as they are not only brutally honest but completely true. Children do not always listen (ok, most of the time they don’t listen) but they are the world’s best observers. Long before children can even speak they have picked up how their world works, just by watching and non-verbal interaction with their parents.
Young children are sponges of input. They see, hear, and feel everything around them without the filters that adults have. As parents and even grandparents we need to recognize the fact that when you interact with your children you are teaching them even if you did not intend to.
As children get older nothing really changes in that regard. They “listen” more to what we do and how we act, than what we say. The parent’s job is to do their best to make sure that they are in sync with action and word. That way there are no mixed signals going to the child…yah, good luck with that, I never quite got the hand of it.
It is hard being a parent; I suspect it always has been. Raising children is not for the weak. It takes sacrifice, patience and lots of love to get kids raised to adulthood. Even then, there is more work to do. The job of a parent, once taken on is a life time endeavor.
Take some time and thank your parents for teaching you, not only what they said but more importantly what they showed you, even unknowingly.