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Copycat

Copycat

My grandson Micah, age 22 months, loves to play copycat. The other day, for example, he watched his four older siblings position their kid-size plastic lawn chairs within inches of their backyard sprinkler. Then they sat on their chairs, squirming and squealing with delight each time the water sprayed them. Not to be outdone, Micah picked up his chair—which nearly equaled his size—and half-carried half-wrestled it to the same place. He plopped it down, climbed aboard, and mimicked everything they did and said.

Micah copycats his mom and dad, too. If they put ketchup on their hotdog, he insists on the same. If they drink from a water bottle, he wants to drink from a water bottle, too. If they fold their hands and bow their heads to say grace, he does the same.

Watching Micah play copycat makes me smile, but it also reinforces to me the importance of providing a positive role model for children. They study us and learn from us often without our being aware. Because they’re so impressionable, it’s vital that we practice behavior and speech that’s worth encouraging.

Here are three examples of behaviors we want our little ones to copycat:

  • Respect

We model respect for others in many ways. For starters—being aware of our tone of voice when speaking to our kids or spouse (especially when we’re tired or frazzled), giving undivided attention when someone talks to us, and practicing the Golden Rule. Exercising common courtesies such as saying “please” and “thank-you,” opening a door for someone, and offering help to those in need also reflects respect. Imagine the difference in our nation if every parent exhibited these behaviors and every child grew up to copycat them!

  • Gratitude

Saying thank-you not only for the big things but also for the mundane models an attitude of gratitude. So does the ability to find something for which to give thanks even in the midst of a difficult situation. Complaining comes naturally; expressing thankfulness takes more effort but the results are worth it. Wouldn’t you rather listen to a child who’s positive and grateful than one who’s whiny and negative? I would! Then—as Gandhi said—“Let’s be the change we want to see.”

  • Self-restraint

Self-restraint is a virtue seldom taught, let alone modeled, because our society says we deserve to have our needs or wants met right now. We buy on impulse, have sex before or outside marriage, leave marriage when the going gets tough, and say things better left unsaid. If only we’d learn to wait, exercise patience, and even say no to ourselves. Our kids would grow up to be better, stronger, more responsible adults for it.

Kids are like mirrors. They reflect attitudes and actions they see modeled. Let’s ensure the reflection they see at home is a good one.

By: Grace Fox is a popular international speaker, global worker, and the author of eight books including Tuck-Me-In Talks With Your Little Ones (Harvest House Publishers). She’s the mother of three married children and grandma to the world’s six cutest kids. Visit www.gracefox.com to learn more about her resources.

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