One thing about being a mother that never ceases to amaze me is how our kids are always watching us. Always. Their antenna is always on and picking up signals from us. Forget Mommy, I’m thinking it would be more helpful is they just called me RM. No, not Rivka Malka, that’s RM for Role Model! At least that way I could remember my job here!
This point was driven home to me just the other day. Since we rebooted out house, I cleaned off the front of the fridge. After I took down old A+ spelling tests and a few nice pictures I hung up a sign with some of my recent favorites.
“The purpose of life is to overcome negative character traits.”
“The things you take for granted are the things other people are praying for.”
“Some people are so poor all they have is money.”
“I don’t want to spoil the ending… but everything is going to be ok.”
And a few more.
This Shabbos, as our guests were in the kitchen I saw one of them perusing our fridge art and we began talking about the quotes. I was saying how words are so powerful – and how I love surrounding myself with messages…
(Side note – the BEST place for a positive message is the bathroom. It’s like subliminal advertising. Here’s the one that I grew up with: The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”< I used to ponder that, wondering why the bathroom was the place to be happy! But eventually it sunk in. I’ll put our bathroom poem at the end of this poem.)
Anyway, on Saturday night, Neshama was coloring and she proudly handed me her art. There painstakingly written, was the following quote ( from my dear daughter who has struggled mightily in school.) “The only failure is failure to try.” And then on another page “You can do it!” “Life is good!”
I was stunned, delighted, “Neshama what is this? Where did you get these great quotes? What a great idea!”
She answered “I heard you saying that you like quotes….”
So there you have it – My quotes had been up but ONE day and she already picked it up, eager to learn from me.
Neshama is only 9. Her learning is still straightforward (just ask her how she feels about juicing, she’s heard me talk about it so much, she sounds like a spokeswoman) but don’t be fooled. My older kids are learning too. All our kids are. They’re watching with wide open eyes, how we handle stress, spills and upsets. They’re watching how we respond to a phone call we’re not in the mood for or to a person in need, and most of all they’re watching how we treat our spouses and our own parents.
So go ahead – call yourself RM,I won’t mind. It’s true, you are RM – embrace it – and USE it. When you’re not feeling like being on your best behavior, remember those eyes on you. And when you are doing wonderful things, know that your kids see that too and just like you’re awesome, they will be too!
Outside my window a new day I see
And only I can determine
what kind it will be
It can be busy and sunny and laughing and gay
Or boring and cold, unhappy and grey
My own state of mind is the determining key
For I am only the person I let myself ne
I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help
Or be selfish and just think of myself
I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun
Or gripe and complain and make it hard on someone
I can be patient with those who don’t understand
Or belittle and hurt them as much as I can
But I have faith in myself and believe what I say
And I intend to make the most of TODAY!