Walking In My Footsteps


Lately, I’ve been really thinking a lot about the influence I’m having on my oldest daughter, Jada. I want to teach her so many things. I want her to be more prepared for homemaking than I was when I got married. I want for her to know how to train her children to be good and obedient. I want to show her how to be good and honest, wise and generous, kind and thoughtful, strong and full of integrity. I want for her to not fall into materialism, and to learn the value of hard work and simple living. And above all, I want her to love the Lord with all her heart.

But will I be able to instill such qualities in her?

I realize that most of what she learns will not be through what I tell her, but through what she observes in me. I must be careful what I say about others. I must always keep my word, and do what I say I will do. I must be slow to speak, slow to anger. I must give to the poor, and offer what I have to those in need. I must keep a cheerful attitude, and look on the bright side of things. I must be thankful in everything. I must be resourceful, and creative. Oh, I could go on and on.

I will share with you that over the past couple of weeks I have developed a strong conviction to involve Jada more in my daily activities. Instead of allowing her to have so much unstructured play time, I’ve been keeping her at my side as I go about my chores. I thought, at first, that she would begrudgingly tag along, but to my delight she has truly enjoyed every teachable moment.

She has been helping me unload and load the dishwasher, set the table, decide what’s for dinner and prepare the meal, feed and dress baby, do laundry, fold clothes, feed and care for the animals, sweep the floors, wipe the counters, empty the trash cans, etc etc. And after we have completed each task, she enthusiastically turns and asks me, “Now what can I help you with, Mommy?”

To me, this time is so incredibly precious. Now is when she is eager to learn, and now is the time to be feeding her with every ounce of knowledge I can possibly present. What a blessing it is that she is so open to instruction.

Yesterday, while we were cleaning the kitchen, my six year old daughter said to me, “Mommy, I want to learn all I can from you while you are still here to teach me.” Wow! I answered, “Baby, there aren’t many six year olds who think like that. That was an incredibly wise thing to say. I want to teach you all that I can, while I still can, so that when you are grown up you will already know all that you need to know to get by. You won’t be caught overwhelmed by all of the things you wish you’d learned growing up.”

Having her at my side has been such a joy. We talk, and sing, and even play a little. I take the time to explain every little thing I do as we go along. And you know, I’ve found that her behavior is greatly improved. When she is bored, or has nothing in particular to be doing, she can get quite mischievous and downright honery at times. But after spending a day being my helper, she is noticeably more respectful, obedient, and cheerfully does as she is told. Amazing how that works.

It is easy as parents to plop our kids down in front of a television show, or shoo them away to go play somewhere else while we busy ourselves around the home. Sure, it’s faster and easier to clean when the little ones aren’t underfoot. But how incredibly important it is that we see the value in teaching our children while they are still young, and empowering them with the knowledge and confidence they will need in order to become the best they can be when they are ready to take on this world.

My job as a mother is to teach my little girl all that she needs to know to be the best wife, mother, and friend that she can be when she is grown. I better be on my best behavior, for she is watching my every move.


Kendra
About Kendra 1106 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

18 Comments

  1. So very insightful Kendra! Thanks for sharing a hands on example. My baby girl is 2 1/2… so not quite ready. I’ve been trying to keep her and my son (3 1/2) with me more and more (though I’m still working on it). They are much more obedient when I do and I’m much more patient with him in general when I’m deliberately slowing down to include them.

    Patience… will it ever get any easier?

  2. As a single mom for many years I raised my 2 sons tp believe that there was nothing they could not accomplish. I sometimes worked 2 jobs which took me away from them but I never missed school functions, baseball game sand as a family we learned love and respect for one another. After 8 yrs I met a wonderful man,by this time my sons were 14 and 19. My now wonderful husband Keith had 2 babies,3 and 1, and blending our families scared me. Then tragedy struck. Keiths 3 year old son was run over by a riding lawn mower while we were working and he was permanently disabled becasue of this. Never was I more proud when my sons came to us during a family conversation and said to Keith, you need my mom now and she needs to help you with Cody and kaitlyn. As a family we are gonna make it through this. We were not married and my sons brought this family together more that day. It has been a financial and mental struggle but 8 years later we have a wonderful family of 3 boys 1 very spoiled lil girl and 2 soon to be daughter in laws. My oldest is a nurse, the 2nd is in law school and I am told daily what wonderful sons I have. I feel what we teach them and the life we SHOW them is more important than anyone will every know. I think you are giving your children a basis for a wonderful life .Thank you for sharing this w. us.

  3. Thank you, Kendra. I needed this post. I haven’t been involving my children as much as I need to. It’s mindblowing to think of how little time we really do have with them as children!

  4. I am very happy for you Kendra, but now after reading all the comments I am left with an almost depressed feeling. I am facing coming off of maternity leave now, not because I want to, but because one income will not support my family. It breaks my heart because I to believe that we are given children to raise ourselves, not to let someone else do it for us, but a year of maternity leave has not shed light on any other way and now I must work it out. I am blessed that my husband has decided that we might be ‘good enough’ with me working only part time, and if I can get the days to work that I want, I may be able to leave my son with my husband on his three days off and fore-go any outside child care. Wish me luck, I need it very much right now.

  5. Thank you Kendra 🙂 I needed to hear this as well. I know it, but I don’t always live it. I get frustrated sometimes and figure it’s just easier and quicker if I do it myself, but easier and quicker is not the point! Thank you for sharing! My daughter is almost 4, and with a 2 year old and another on the way, I need all the help I can get! I really need to use this time I have because as everyone says, it’s gone so quickly!

  6. Kendra, What a beautiful post! I plan on printing this out and sticking it in my “ideas” binder I have begun for my children. My first is only 1, but I look forward to many teachable moments like you have with Jada in the future. Thank you for your blog.

  7. That is so sweet. 🙂 I hope I can get into a better groove with that in the next year or so (forces have conspired against me as of late).

  8. I meant to also say….We had some really nice bonding time…I was able to teach him what I knew and I think he liked it 🙂

  9. After this post I went straight into my son’s room and woke him (my 8 year old)and asked him if he would like to learn to can tomatoes…He immediately got out of bed and was eager to help ( he has asked several times before but I always said No)…He was a great help too!!! He cut the X in the bottom of the tomatoe and placed them in hot water and them put them in the ice water and I did all the rest…We canned 5 quarts this morning in about an hour…:) Thanks again for reminding me what is important!! 🙂

  10. I have a 3 yr. old and a 1 yr. old. This was super motivating to read, because I have tried to do this too with my 3 yr. old, but have slumped off recently due to various circumstances. I’m remotivated to “force” the time to do these things with him, and not to allow moving, sickness, etc. deter the efforts! Thanks for echoing our hearts with your actions!

  11. Stephanie–that’s what I always say, too: “God doesn’t give us children so we can hand them off to someone else to raise after they are born.” The day my oldest was born was the day I stopped my career as a kindergarten teacher and began my career as a full-time mother. There is no greater joy than to serve God by being the best wife to my husband and the best mother to my children that I can be, and no higher calling for my life. After nineteen years and three children, ages 19, 17, and 14, I’ve never looked back in regret at my decision. Great post, Kendra!

  12. That’s beautiful Kendra. I feel the same way, I worked all the time until my first was born. I had wondered if I’d be able to go back to work, I tried for 2 days and haven’t been back since. My babies are now 3 & 17 months and I feel like it is very important to be with them every day to love and nurture. They don’t ask to help yet but I still talk to them about what I’m doing when they’re playing close enough. I believe that’s the way it should be, God doesn’t give us children for someone else to raise. We are very happy living on less, too.

    Wow, Holly, you’re up early! You’re boys are wonderful and you’re doing great with them. 🙂

  13. I truely believe this message has been sent to me (from God thru you) 🙂 I really need to be reminded of this…I have four boys ages:8,7,3,2… it is difficult to get my chores done while they are always underfoot…my 8 and 7 year are always asking to help but I am always telling “No” 🙁 This saddens me 🙁 I am definitely going to try to do better….Thank You for this eye opening post…

  14. Thank you so much for this post. My son is 4 and my daughter is 3. They LOVE to help me with everything and I admit that I lose my patience with them BUT the Lord has shown me that these are precious times and I WONT get them back. So I have been letting them do little things, like dust and hand me the clean dishes from the dishwasher, fold up towels. I might have to go back and redust and refold the towels but they have a sense of accomplishment and they feel great when I give them such praise. Thank you Kendra for posting this and reminding all of us!

  15. Just wanted to say I love to see little ones being trained to keep a house running.Right along with mom or dad.It comes easier for some than other ones(at least I have found this with my own).Children want to please their parents and it is fun to have a little son or daughter beside you helping all the way.:)They do learn alot from hands on.My 6 year old daughter LOVES to clean and help with the baby.I smile when she tells me she will live with me forever and help take care of my babies.I know that will probably change with time but right now we cannot imagine life without each other and I like it that way.Keep up the good work Kendra…the time you invest in Jada now will be so helpful to both of you.

  16. Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me your path. (Psalm 25:4)

    This verse comes to mind after reading this. I have had the same conviction on my heart lately with my 6 year old. She is so eager to learn and I feel so unqualified most times to teach her! But I sure find comfort in God’s word. Thanks so much for sharing!

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