As I was making my daughter a peanut butter and honey sandwich, I got caught. She caught me licking the little bit of yummy, golden honey that had stayed on the outer edge of the jar after I'd poured a hearty helping out.
Yep. I got caught at something I truly shouldn't have been doing. It happens.
Have you ever been caught by your kids? I'll 'fess up. I've been caught licking the cake batter from the beaters, wearing my running shoes on the carpet, rolling through a stop sign, and sneaking cookies from the jar. Not my best moments.
But there are a few things we should hope our children do catch us doing. These are the things we tend to do in private or rarely, but our children need to catch us in the act at least now and then.
It might be best if they don't catch us forgetting to flush the toilet, but our children could benefit from catching us:
- saying I'm sorry. Like I said, we may not do it often -- or often enough -- but our children need to know that we realize we blow it occasionally. They need to hear those precious and humble words from our lips, "I'm sorry; will you forgive me?"
- being silly. We grown-ups can take ourselves a little too seriously at times. Let's not forget to laugh and play with our children, too.
- exercising. My kids know that exercise is a necessary and rewarding part of life. I haven't generally had a weight problem, but I've exercised 3-5 days a week most of my adult life. I think that tells them that exercise isn't just for losing weight; it's for staying healthy and active.
- having our quiet time. While I generally prefer some privacy and quiet during the time when I read the Bible and pray, I think it's fine for my children to see me sitting on my back porch with my Bible and a cup of coffee. They know that's how I begin my day and that it's important to me.
- laughing and happy. Proverbs 31:28 reads in the NASB, "Her children rise up and bless her..." but it can also be translated, "Her children grow up and say 'She's a happy woman.'" When your children look back on their growing years will they say you were a happy mom?
- flirting with our husbands. My daughter still wrinkles her nose in disdain when my husband and I kiss or act affectionately with one another, but I know deep down she values the loving relationship between us.
- saying yes. I love the hot dog wiener commercial that shows the mom saying "no" to most everything - family vacation in Vegas, the son using the chain saw, etc. - but she finally says "yes" to the all-beef wieners. They're right. We have to say "no" quite often as the heavy in the house, but we need to make sure we say an encouraging number of "yeses" too.
- enjoying friendships. I learned to be a friend by watching my mom be a friend. I learned to listen, empathize, be there in difficult times, entertain, and hold a hand.
- treating ourselves to something nice. At least occasionally. I'm all for sacrificing for our children, but if we never do something nice for ourselves, we send them the faulty message that our lives revolve around theirs and that they sit on the throne in the home. Nu huh. Not in this house.
- worshiping the Lord. Be careful of sending your children to worship services while you always serve in the nursery or somewhere else on Sunday mornings. There's something very motivating about watching other people worship God in truth and in spirit, especially our parents.
- serving others. At the same time, our children do need to see us physically serving other people -- those outside our home -- occasionally. Do they see you take meals to new parents, give rides to senior adults, paint a neighbor's house or pick up trash in the park? I'm still watching my parents serve and they've set the bar high for me.
- trying something new. We're constantly asking our children to try new things - new foods, new camps, new schools, new sports, new clothes, new math. Isn't it only fair (and extremely motivating) for them to see us give a try at something new as well?
- using our noodles. Our brains, that is. When was the last time your child saw you do a crossword puzzle, complete a Sudoku, read a book, study your Bible (cross references and dictionaries and all), or balance the checkbook? My bet is that if your children regularly see you buckle down and apply your brain to something difficult, they're more likely to be good students themselves.
I'll stop my list there and give you the opportunity to add to it. What else should our children "catch us" doing? Besides licking the honey from the rim of the jar, of course.