Choose Well

4.04.2013

*for the life of me I can't find the main source for this quote. if you know, please tell me*

I've seen the above quote circulating on social media lately, and right away it hit me like a ton of bricks. I've always believed that kids are a blank canvas, that we as parents write on the walls of their brain. They are born innocent, completely pure. And I also believe, to an extent, a BIG extent, that children are a reflection of their parents. 

My sister was over the other day (you know, the one with three girls under two), and as we were discussing life, and as I was trying to engage her in gossip, she cut me off like she always does and said something new, something I'd never heard her say before. "I want my kids to grow up and say they never heard me say a bad thing about anyone." 

"Well that's a stupid goal," I replied.

I mean, shouldn't your children hear you talk about how bad and evil child molesters are? Shouldn't they hear you discuss how horrible murderers are? Bad drivers? Gingers? And lastly, don't you think your kids need to know the dangers of growing up to be a raging liberal who thinks the world owes them something?

And like she always does, my sister responded with something well-versed and wise:

"It basically boils down to keeping your heart and head as toxic free as possible. And seething over bad people doesn't add to your life. Learning the negative lessons help you be a better person and then you can move on because you don't continue hating people."

I hate when others put a damper on my shallow gossiping fun.

But then later that evening, as I watched my two little boys play in the front yard, I felt such a sense of pride. Pride in knowing that my boys have no sense of superiority. Pride in the fact that when I showed Gunner a picture of two little boys, of which were different races, and said how they were brothers just like him and Colt, he didn't bat an eye or ask why they looked different, the only thing he said to me was "mommy, we need to write them a letter and tell them we want to play with them." Because to Gunner, all he saw was two little boys just like him. That he desperately wanted to play with. 

You hear a lot where people say a child's heart and soul are innocent. That children are blindly accepting. Comparing them to adults who are critical and judgmental, as if growing older naturally does that to people. I can only speak for myself, but my parents raised me to believe that everyone is equal, regardless of race, background or social status. And I have an 87 year old grandpa who I have never, not once, heard utter a bad word about someone. Whose acceptance has trickled down to his five kids, and every one of his ten grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. (I would also like to give huge credit to my Nonie, my angel in heaven, the matriarch of our family and the most accepting, kind person I've ever known.)

It starts at birth. It starts at home. It starts with me and it starts with you. 

No matter how hard we try to preach what is right, if our actions don't line up with our words, our kids will see right through it, and what they will take away is what they see us do. How they see us live our lives when we think they aren't looking. I can tell my kids not to curse fifty times a day, but when they hear me say "oh sh*t" on a constant basis they will think it's ok for them also. I can tell my kids to not give in to peer pressure, that they don't need to drink to have a good time, but if they see mommy and daddy throwing some back every time there is a get-together, sooner or later they will get the impression that drinking does equal a good time. Regardless of what we tell them. 

I want my kids to see me be kind. To see me hold the door open for whoever is behind me, to see me respect the elderly and to see me never differentiate between people who may not look exactly the same. I want them to witness me being accepting of everyone, no matter their race, appearance or sexual orientation. I want them to see me respond to negativity with class.

Because I don't think innocence and tolerance fades with age. 

I know it doesn't. 

Let me refer back to my 87 year old grandpa.


It starts with us.


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45 comments:

  1. This is Awesome!! Is it ok if i link to it on my page??

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  2. I really enjoy your blog. While I don't agree with everything you write, I always respect your opinions. But this post moved me to comment - Renee is right - this is awesome! I used to teach 2 and 3 year olds and I could tell what parents belonged to what kids just by the way the parents walked into the room. Children are little miniatures of the parents. They do and see EVERYTHING! Great post!

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  3. This is an awesome post. Completely agree!

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  4. Except for the raging liberal thing, thinking we are owed something of course ;)

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  5. Wow, I just loved this post! One of my favorites ever! And theres alot of favorites! :)

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  6. Thanks for making me cry this morning! It's so true. It does start with us. We have to be the ones to teach them : )

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  7. This post resonated with me like no others I've read before! It's so true, so real, so honest. I'm usually just a reader...haven't made the jump to my own blog yet (mostly because I know I don't have the time), and I love most everything you post--the stories always leave me crackin' up, but this one...I knew I HAD to comment and let you know how spot on I think this one, in particular, is! -Meghan

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  8. This is beautiful! It made me tear up and remember that as I get ready to teach little children all day, I am their model and everything I do counts. You make one killer mama :)your boys are very blessed!!

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  9. Loved this! So true!! :)

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  10. I just got goosebumps reading this. This is so true and it does scare me about having kids. What if they hear me talk smack about, oh everyone, and then become judging little people?!?

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  11. I love this. It makes me so happy when I am reminded there are still people like this in the world. Your kids will grow up to be great men.

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  12. What a wise well thought out post. I love it. I'm going to try to be a better mother today. Can you imagine what the world would look like if all mothers tried to teach their kids this stuff?

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  13. this is such a wonderful post. it's post like these about your children that I love the most.. Your such a incredible blogger, and to be honest I look up to u. everyday when I log on to the computer, I instantly come to your blog. I have been slacking lately in the blog world but, I know that one day my blog will be successful as yours is. Thank u for inspiring me to be a better blogger, mother, and wife.

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  14. I love this. Kids are so maleable and I think this post described it perfectly. I'm a nanny so everyday I'm around children, and I've seen how the things I've done have affected them (and they don't even look up to me the way they look up to their parents). It's helped me to realize how important it will be to set an example when I'm a parent one day! As always I'm in love with your blog!
    xxoo
    Jordyn

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  15. Beautifully written. I wish everyone in the world raised their kids with this thinking. We'd all be so much better off.

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  16. I am a ginger but I ADORE you. You are hilarious and by the sounds of it a phenominal Mom! Bravo to you for loving your kids enough to teach them right from wrong and showing them how to love!

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  17. Raven, I am impressed! That post was fabulous. I agree. Now that my son is 19 and going on job interviews, enrolling in college, and generally interacting with the adult world, I can see what a wonderful person he turned into! Sometimes I think it's in spite of me and his Dad rather than because of (LOL) - we definitely are NOT perfect parents. He's seen us drink, curse, fight, etc. But hopefully we instilled enough core values in him that he will be able to remain the sweet, kind and gentle man-boy that he is now - and pass it down to his own kids one day.

    Thanks for the post.

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  18. I love this line of thinking! Thanks for reminding people how influential their actions can be.

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  19. Yes yes and yes! It breaks my heart when kids are put in the middle of adult pettiness. Love this post and you!

    Kristine -The Foley Fam {unedited}

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  20. So true! Well said girl! We def need to be conscious of our actions and be sure they match our lessons taught. Being a parent is the hardest of jobs, being a good parent is that much harder. This post is such a good reminder of how precious our children are and how quick they are to mimic us. Best be living in a way worth repeating!!

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  21. This is your best post ever. Period. I love it! Your words were beautifully written and so very true. Your grandparents did a wonderful job showing us how it's done growing up and every generation in the family I think is doing them proud.

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  22. Well written! I am a fairly new follower...and if this is what I have to look forward to (along with everything else in the last two weeks...) I think I'll stick around.

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  23. Beautiful. Thank you for writing this. I agree 100%!

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  24. This gave me chills! As a new mom I think about this type of thing a lot! You put it into words better than I ever could have though!!

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  25. You are amazing, my friend. Beautifully written post and ever so true! Loving you :)

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  26. This brought tears to my eyes! If only more people thought this way!

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  27. love this .. need to remember for when I have kiddos! :)

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  28. Raven, I'm proud of you for what you said about the drinking. We all need to remember also, that talk (or type) is cheap and that actions speak louder than words. We parents need to keep reminding ourselves daily how bringing up a child is THE most important job in the world! Awesome post :)

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  29. I am so in love with this post. In fact I'm printing it out, stapling it to your post about the letter you read to your boys every school year and giving it to my classroom parents at the beginning of school next year.

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  30. Soooooo, you are never going to let them read your blog, then?

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  31. As a former teacher, I can attest to kids being replicas of their parents. My worst students oftentimes had horrible parents, or even worse, no parents. I loved this post, except of course the liberal part. Haha. There are conservatives, liberals, and then there are morons and freeloaders. Lol!

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  32. ^ yup, nailed it.

    Loved this post!

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