Any mother of a child two or older will know what I’m talking about.
There’s a moment where your sweet little child, upon hearing you say something that you likely uttered without thinking, repeats your words back to you and you think, “Did I really just say that?!”
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving with my mom and two boys and I was telling her some story in which I caught myself using a word that I wouldn’t particularly like to hear out of my preschooler. You know, nothing terrible or even a true curse word, but still not one of those I’d like to hear he was using at the end of the school day.
And in an instant, I heard myself and then heard those little lips repeat it back to me.
Thankfully my mom jumped in quickly to save me with her explanation about what “crab apples” are and how that’s what mommy was actually talking about.
Apparently my mom is much more skilled at this parenting gig than I am.
But that whole moment has had me thinking about our little “sponge” children who are so skilled at picking up the words, tones, and nuances of our language. Am I really aware of all that my kids understand?
Think of a sponge for a minute. I don’t know about you, but when I have a nice clean sponge in my sink, not only am I a lot happier, but my dishes get a lot cleaner. Clean sponges are a lot more effective than dirty ones, right?
Our kids are much the same. When they are in an environment where they are soaking up good things and kept clean from the yuck that they could easily be exposed to, they are a lot more effective in what we ask them to do, and later, what God asks them to do.
Now please don’t misunderstand me: I am not talking about sheltering your kids from everything in the world, or negating the fact that God can do mighty things in kiddos who maybe have been exposed to yucky things. There are no perfect moms and I’ve had my fair share of ‘oops‘ moments with my kids.
I am only saying that the influence within our own homes has a lot of impact on our kids, and as moms we do have a good amount of control over what they are soaked in.
I don’t know about you, but I’d like my kiddos to be clean sponges in the sink of the One who is going to use them. And while a lot of that depends on their own choices and free will, I can try my best to keep them clean while I can.
If only to prevent more conversations about crab apples in the back of my minivan.