My mom and I were having a conversation the other day about students in her past classes and their grammar. I told her a story about how Isaiah had said something was "difficult" and how I was impressed with his vocabulary.
"It's all in what a child hears," my mom had said.
If a child hears a more extensive vocabulary, they will use a more extensive vocabulary. If a child hears his parents say things like "...and we was like..." that's exactly how they are going to talk.
That got me thinking: what else do I do that my children imitate? If I keep a clean home, odds are, they will as well. If I'm fiscally responsible, they probably will be, too. If I live a healthy lifestyle, they are probably going to find ease with that.
And here's a big one that sort of crushed my heart right inside my chest: If I am not loving to people, neither will my children be.
Well, uh oh.
Believe it or not, I don't always get my way. (Crazy, right?) When I don't, I can sometimes voice my opinion to my husband. Now, he tends to be pretty good at shutting me down if I feel the need to gossip or state my negative opinion about someone, and that is especially true when I'm spewing my ugly in front of our kids. Our house rule is pretty simple: Say nothing negative about others, but if you absolutely must, say no names.
I break this rule. My word, I break this rule so many more times than I'd care to think about.
But the truth is, if kids simply repeat what they hear because what they hear or see is what is acceptable in their eyes, my children could very easily grow up to be unloving, bitter people.
Scripture tells us in more than one place (Matthew 12:24, Luke 6:45) "from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."
When I consider the fact that my children's mouth are being unloving, I can somehow handle it. The thought that their hearts are, well, that pretty much murders me. And for myself, I hate how an unloving heart pulls me away from my Lord.
My prayer for myself today is simple: God, fix my heart so that it overflows with love and kindness and You.
That is what I want my kids to imitate.