Life is easier when we model the behavior we want to see in our children. Reading becomes what we do in our house if our kids see us reading. Writing becomes just something that happens if our kids see us writing. Likewise, if they see us take time to figure out calculations on paper, they learn that everyone uses math, but if we just grab a smartphone and do the math on the calculator, they don’t see us do math at all because there was nothing to see.
But our kids do as we do a whole lot better than they do as we say.
Evidence: Jon and I both read quite a bit. He listens to audiobooks as he commutes to his day job. We are both frequently found with a book, and we both have books sprinkled throughout the house near our spots (in the bathroom, on our nightstands, by our spots in the living room, on our desks….). Our kids have added their own books to the rooms of our house. There is a fixer-upper manual with Jon’s theology read because Jon and Micah like the same chair in the living room, a Ranger’s Apprentice book that Gideon is enjoying is on top of the my novel in the living room because if I sit down in my spot, he snuggles up next to me with his book.
Further evidence: We own a publishing company. My husband has several books published. I write quite often, though all my thoughts are published on blogs instead of books. My 15 year old is writing a series of short stories. Guess what my younger boys decided to do? For the past few days, they have been laying on the floor in my office handwriting or typing their own stories.
That is not to say that we don’t play games, watch TV, exercise, play on the computer and do all sorts of other things. But no matter what we are doing, our kids are watching. While they also have their own interests, they gravitate toward what they see us doing.