...of the way we raise them.
We're always intentionally and unintentionally raising our children.
We intentionally teach them to be kind to others, respect their elders, get plenty of sleep, clean up after themselves, and eat all their vegetables.
However, they still learn from everything we unintentionally teach them too: how we criticize and compare ourselves to others, place everything and everyone else ahead of ourselves, tie our worth to our achievements, numb our painful feelings with protective behaviors, and confuse our experiences with our identities.
They learn much, much more from what we do and don't do, rather than what we say...actions speak louder than words!
Then, as we transmit our pain and transfer our insecurities, they adapt to our woundedness and imperfections, and their behaviors follow suit.
Ironically, what upsets us most about the way they behave is what we least like about ourselves--their behaviors mirror our reality and painfully remind us of our shortcomings, and we don't like that.
In turn, we holler, we criticize, and we punish them for the ways we've treated them.
The best way we all can influence our children's behavior is to improve our own.
The challenge here is that the ball is back in our court now, and we can no longer scapegoat our children for reflecting our ways of being, and we must face our pain and humanity.
As we travel the path of leading by example, I can't tell you what to do as much as which qualities may support our bravery: willingness, vulnerability, acceptance, patience, and surrender.
Thankfully, children adapt like sponges and overtime; when we see them mirroring our preferred qualities, we'll know we're on the right track.
"The best way to make children good is to make them happy." Oscar Wilde