My husband ran back to the car for something we forgot. I waited with the kids on a grassy section, coffee in hand. One arm was draped with towels; the other was used as a hook for bags of snorkelling gear. We were ready to hit the beach. Various children had towels over the necks and beach items in hand. One sat on a nearby bench, gazing out into the blue. Another spotted a bin to throw the rubbish we removed from the car. My son stood at the wood railing, ready to run as soon as Dad got back. Then there was one standing beside me.
My daughter summed me up and said, “Mum, you look like you need a load off. I’ll take this bag for you.”
Then she added something that made me realise, once again, how important example is. She said simply, “It’s something Dad would do.”
It’s equal amounts of beauty and overwhelm: realising how modelling works over the long term. It’s both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful, because in it, holds a deep reflective truth that can not be fabricated. Terrifying because in the same measure of truth, I often see impacts of my impatience reflected in my children. My daughter’s beautiful action, as a reflection of my husband’s steadfast kindness, acted like a rebuke to me, but in a good way.
It’s easier to say words than it is to be them. It’s easier to expect rather than model. It’s easier to control than it is to edify. Being the change takes time, and perseverance and patience. The good news is I can also extended measures of patience and grace to myself, as a mother, as I learn and lead with love. It’s for everyone.