Your kids are always listening, that’s true. They’ll always look to see what you’re doing and learn from you. Nell Painter learning from her mother’s career change late in life is proof of that.
But it’s also a fact that when they’re young, they’re much more impressionable. They can pick up languages earlier. They have fewer habits. They’ve seen less. “For just as seals leave their impression in soft wax,” Plutarch would write, “so are lessons impressed upon the minds of children while they are young.”
Another way to see this might be that every day that passes, your kids become less open to learning. Hasn’t that proven true in your own life? When you were younger, there was so much more to experiment with, to try, and an openness to it as well. As you aged, this slowly changed, you became more and more sure, less and less flexible.
So now is the time. Now is the time for both of you—to practice good habits. To read good books. To explore new things. To listen to new ideas. To make hard choices. To review what is right. You’ll never have a better chance to teach them than now. You’ll never have a softer target or a wider opening.
You can’t afford to wait. You have to seize this moment.