The other day, Grace and I were talking and singing when all of a sudden, she did something to make me laugh. Being Asian, my eyes naturally squint when I smile and it seemed like it was the first time Grace noticed this. While I laughed, my little girl smiled and squinted her eyes to copy me. This just made me laugh even more so again, Grace deliberately squinted her eyes as she giggled. Soon, we were in a happy circle of Grace making me laugh by squinting with me ‘squint laughing,’ encouraging Grace to squint her eyes again.
This experience made me reflect on how my children love to copy everything Joel and I do. I have to be aware of how to talk and behave in the car (one time I did have a bit of road range and said something I shouldn’t have. It’s hard to explain to kids that they shouldn’t say a certain phrase when they’ve heard you use it!!), how I interact with people (I’m not the most social person!) and how I treat others, especially family. This made me think of a talk given my Dallin H. Oaks where he said,
“The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents”
I can never forget this. Children copy what they see, especially people they look up to. It’s so hard to remember to be the best person I can be, even when days (weeks, months of even years) are tough and nothing seems to be going well. In my role at work, I advise my internal stakeholders that consistency is key to high performance. It recently clicked that this should be applied in my home as well. If I want my children to clean up, then I need to keep things in order. If I want my children to have manners, I should always be polite and courteous with everyone I come in contact with. If I want my children to be kind and generous, I need to ensure they see me treat others around me that way.
I know this is something I struggle with – consistency. I want to consistently be the example my children need, the example my children deserve. When times are tough, I just need to remember that I have two little copy cats watching me.