What a Difference a “Day” Makes

I was knee-deep in dinner prep when I heard her little five-year old voice from the other room,


“You need to shut your mouth!” she shot off at her older brother.


My heart sank.  There is little doubt where those words are coming from.  While somehow I pride myself on never saying “shut up” to my children, I know those words of hers were learned from me.  And they do not sound loving.  Or kind.  Or edifying in any sort of way.


They LISTEN.  Even when they cross their arms or refuse to make eye contact, they’re hearing us.  The words- the yelling, the sighing, the grumbling, the singing, the praising, or the joking- it’s all registering, taking root, and preparing to bloom.  How terribly humbling to realize what I sound like… why don’t I realize that when I hear the words leave my own lips?  How am I so ignorant to the effect I’m having?



Today, I washed up some dishes while my oldest and youngest ate lunch.  I sang along as I worked,


Blest be the Lord; Blest be the Lord,

the God of mercy, the God who saves.

I shall not fear the dark of night,

nor the arrow that flies by —”


– a tickle in my throat caused me to pause and cough.  Behind me, I heard my barely two-year old’s voice ring out, high and clear as a bell…




Oh, yes.  They hear us.  They learn from us.


And I’m learning from them, too.

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12 comments to What a Difference a “Day” Makes

  • earleyml

    It’s actually scary how much they listen to us! We only have a 2 year daughter and I’ve heard her yell at the dog or her dolls with the same tone and words that I use with her. I’ve always said I would never be my mom but when I hear her it’s like listening to my own mom yell at me. FRIGHTENING!!!!

    • It really IS frightening. Just staggers me. But I’m grateful to see it- to hear it- and, hopefully, to get a little better about it. I know, without a doubt, that I will fail, but I can at least try to be better.

  • It really is amazing how much they listen…my oldest is even picking up certain inflections in our tones of voice and it’s heartbreaking to hear him talk certain ways.

    On another note, thank you for sharing this. I needed to read that someone else might get impatient with their kids occasionally (yesterday was a rough day for us). It is also wonderful to see how much you are teaching your kids, and that is indicated by your two year old in this post :)

    • You are so welcome, Judy. It is important that I share these things… this is my life, this is what happens here. I’m certainly not proud of it, but it’s the way it is sometimes. I hope today is a bit of an easier day for you… I’ve had those rough days before and it’s nice if you get a “do-over” the next morning. :)

  • {sigh} I hear myself in my 8yo, and it isn’t always pretty. :(

  • I was visting my daughter one day and my granddaughter was in a snit about something. She was 8 at the time. At one point , she reached out to her other’s face, put her hands on on both sides of her mom’s face,and said in a very firm voice, “Look at me!” Both my daughter and I were hard pressed to keep from laughing. She sounded and looked just like her mom!

    Oh yes, they learn!

    • Oh, it would have been hard for me to stifle a giggle too! The same daughter who repeated my words mimicked my husband’s “don’t do that!” one night and the tone of voice she adopted to do so was quite simply hilarious. He and I couldn’t make eye contact because we knew we’d just lose it. :)

  • I’ve noticed that a lot lately. I try not to loose my temper and I try to watch what I say but i’ve noticed the little sighs and grumbles and I know that they come from me.

  • They really do listen. It’s scary sometimes to realize how much responsibily God has given us as parents. Knowing that my daughter hears -and sometimes repeats- everything I say, definitely keeps me accountable. I need to use “nice” words reflected with an equally nice tone. I think that even disciplining can be edifying for our child. I just need more practise and patience :).

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