For the second time that day, I had told my daughter to stop correcting her brothers. One would mispronounce a small word and she was quick to tell him the proper way to say it.
It got to the point where half of the conversation at the table was my daughter interrupting the conversation to correct something the boys were saying.
“You knew what they meant,” I said. “There is no need to correct them. You’re only trying to make yourself look smarter. Please stop.”
And it hit me.
She was simply mimicking what she had seen me do at times. Of course.
All of our greatest flaws will be reflected in our children in miniature form. Concentrated. Turned up to 11.
They haven’t learned the sophistication of hiding their flaws as well as we grown-ups have. So there it is in all its glory.
Every time my son loses his temper over a game.
Every time my son complains and is ungrateful.
Every time my daughter is passive-aggressive.
Anything they do, I planted the seed. They are doing what they have been taught to do. They are doing what they have been trained to do.
And it is ugly.
For many people, this will be the first time they have taken an honest look at themselves. A flaw in your children is a mirror for your own soul. It might be the first real mirror you have experienced.
Do not retreat from it, as you will be tempted to do. This comes in the form of overindulgence or apathy. You want to go easy on yourself, so you go easy on your children. Even though you know it’s wrong.
Correcting your child means correcting yourself, and in some cases, verbally apologizing for your terrible example. It is self-discipline.
No wonder it’s so unpopular these days.
This is how your children can be some of your greatest teachers. If you have the humility to see and accept.
Do not waste the opportunity, because it won’t be around forever.
If you choose to retreat, if you let the habits harden, you will eventually see the same flaws in your grandchildren.