You might be surprised at what your children hear, understand, process, and put into their little memory banks! Scary might even be a better word. Two quick stories illustrate this fact.
Our family loves baseball, especially our World Series Champion Diamondbacks. It was the home opener and we were sitting down watching the game at home with our two girls (tickets to the Champions are a little out of our budget). Between innings, a commercial for a cell phone company came on. Dennis Franz was telling his agent that he doesn’t “do” commercials because you have to be a user of the product you are trying to sell. The four of us are talking when Zoe (4 years old at the time) looked up and said, “Dad. That guy says he doesn’t ‘do’ commercials, but LOOK! He’s doing a commercial.” Well at least the ad gurus know how to get a 4 year old’s attention.
My brother died of a drug overdose several years ago. We have consciously withheld some of the details from our girls until they are a little older. I am amazed at how much they know already from listening to our conversations with other adults. The summer my daughter was 4, I helped chauffeur her preschool class to Phoenix for a field trip. I drove and chatted with one teacher, while Zoe sat in the very back row of the van next to her other teacher. All of the sudden, I was drawn to Zoe’s conversation with her teacher. “Well,” Zoe said, in a rather a matter of fact tone, “my Uncle Na Na took my Grammy’s pillow one night. When my Grammy woke up in the morning and went to get her pillow he was dead, but I don’t know how he died. My pop tried to hold him like a baby, but he wouldn’t come back alive. I guess my Grammy killed him for taking her pillow.” Startled by her word’s, I nearly ran off the road. I had told this part of my brother’s story to some people when Zoe was nearly two years old, and two years later she was showing us she had overheard, remembered, processed it, and now was ‘regurgitating it.
Each of these stories illustrate how scary it can be when we stop to think about what our children hear and remember. It leaves an indelible impression with me that I need to watch all that I say and do around my children Even when I think it’s “going over their heads” or that they are not listening. We have adopted a saying in our household - “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” How often in life do we say one thing and do something very different? Are you a 'do as I say, but not as I do' kind of person?
Lord give us strength to be careful to say and do the right thing!