Our children are a reflection of ourselves. The reflection is not perfect, not a like a mirror. Sometimes it is more like a funhouse mirror, or a tropical beach. There are distortions and ripples, dirt and distractions, things in the surface of the water that contribute their own selves to the overall whole. Generally, though, we can see echoes of ourselves in our children.
My mother commented recently that she never realized just how often she makes little noises, little grunts and groans and moans as she moves around, until she kept Kender alone in her house for a day. Kender is a little mimic, and every noise she made was suddenly being reflected back at her, sometimes amplified or repeated.
I can see my own behavior, and my husband’s, reflected in my children’s behavior. I see them asking others to do things they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves, and I see the reflection of myself looking for ways to avoid moving my painful body. My children don’t see the pain, though. They see the request for help, and that’s what they copy. I see my children getting upset and yelling at each other for accidental hurts and minor intrusions, and I see the reflection of my own short temper. My children don’t see the daily struggle to do the simplest things that uses up the patience I could have used on the spilled milk. They only see the overreaction, and that’s what they copy.
Explanations only go so far, particularly when I’m dealing with non-verbal children like Kender. My mother can’t explain to him why she makes those little sounds he picks up on so easily. I can try to explain how I feel to my other children, but they won’t be able to understand, not really.
When I hurt, when I am tired, when I lose patience, I see all of this reflected in my children.
When I find my still point, when I exercise, when I take my medication, when I seek out peace in meditation and ritual…I also see this reflected in my children.
When I say, “That’s okay. We’ll fix it/clean it up,” I hear my children say the same things.
When I sit in quiet meditation, I see my children join me.
When I focus on exercise, I see my children find their own exercises to do.
When I maintain my altars, I see my children erect their own altars.
When I get things done and take steps to move forward in my life, I see my children do their schoolwork and take initiative in their projects and dreams.
Reflection is one of my strongest motivators for finding my own path and in considering my own actions. My actions will determine the reflections I see in my children.