Nic doesn’t always do what we ask him to do. Sometimes when we want him to do something we have to do it first; show him how it’s done. Sometimes, I’ll ask Dennis to do something so Nic will “want” to do it.
This is both good and bad. One Sunday we were standing waiting for the bathroom at church. I noticed that if I crossed my ankles, he crossed his; when I leaned on the wall, he leaned on the wall. Cute. Dennis taught Nic to raise his eyebrows…repeatedly and quickly…by raising his (Dennis’) eyebrows repeatedly and quickly over and over. It is super charming and he often does it at inappropriate times (like when he is about to get in trouble).
Here’s when it’s “bad”. Anyone who has been a passenger in my vehicle knows that I am a typical “Austin” driver. What does that mean? Well, it means I am a city driver and I drive pretty aggressively….not New Jersey aggressive (yes, I have driven in New Jersey and I swore that I would only use a driver after getting a little lost while trying to return a rental car to Newark airport…people honked at me!). What I definitely do is comment, sometimes loudly on other driver’s driving skills. I try not to use expletives. I usually say things like “What are you doing?!?!” Sometime, I wave my hands (not my fist nor I do not use “sign language”). One day, after driving all the way out to Steck (that’s way north Austin to those of us born and raised in Austin), I noticed that when I loudly commented at other drivers, Nic would sort of yell (he’s not a yeller really) and babble and wave his hands. Oh no!
Kids will always do what you do before they do what you tell them.
What I am really learning is so applicable to leadership. If you want someone to do something…you go first. If you want your children to behave nicely, then you have to behave nicely; 95% of the time. If you want your children to learn to pray, you have to pray with them, pray for them and let them pray. If you want your children to think of others, they must see you thinking of others. It’s all about modeling. Expect someone, especially your children to follow your leadership….whether your actions are good or bad. Learn to apologize when you are wrong because there will be times when you “mess” it up.