Have you ever heard your kids say something that just stops you cold? One of those remarks that instinctually makes you do a double take? It can be an unexpected curse word, or some preposterous old-timey expression, or one of those heartbreakingly earnest statements about love or happiness.
Where did that come from, you think? Where did they hear that?
Of course, you know. They heard it from you. You’re the one who cursed. You’re the one who told them about how annoying your neighbor is. You’re the one who turned on the TV and let them sit there.
The point of this is not to shame you, it’s to remind you. Your kids are always watching. A little fellow follows you…eyes, ears, and heart open and absorbing. Don’t be the parents in A Christmas Story, washing their son’s mouth out with soap, yelling at his friend’s mother, pretending that there is anyone else to blame but yourself. Don’t be the parent who underestimates their power to teach, who thinks that your kid is lost if they don’t have access to the most expensive and prestigious schools.
No, they are always learning, always watching, always little vessels ready to be filled. What will they hear? What will you pour? That’s the question.