Lucky Seven Family

Lead by Example

Last weekend, on a cold and raw New England spring day, Russell and I were driving with my two children to my daughter, Elaina’s, lacrosse game.  My blonde, blue-eyed girl is the talkative one; the one that can’t keep secrets (for which I’m grateful!).  As we are driving down the interstate, she starts to recount a story about when we were in Santa Barbara recently with the entire clan (Lucky Seven Family – Russell and his 3 kids, me and my 2 kids).  She is very detailed in her story-telling; chattering away from the backseat about our recent spring break trip to sunny, relaxing Santa Barbara.  She starts to tell us about a conversation she had with her step-sister, Alida (Russell’s oldest daughter).  “We were talking about how Alida “sighs” at everything”, she says.  The “sigh” – everyone in Lucky Seven Family chuckles at her trademark mechanism for signifying to anyone who is nearby her disdain for the current situation or often, request made of her.  Elaina continues telling the story:  yeah, and Alida said, “what’s funny about Nerissa (me, her stepmom), getting frustrated with me for sighing is that she does it too!”

Silence – my mouth may have fallen open…

Wait a second…Pause please… while I recover from the gut-punch!!

Reality sets in…over the last week I’ve really been thinking about how we as parents and step-parents are teaching every day.  Our children and step-children are modeling our behavior; they are our mirrors.  They are acutely aware of us whether we realize it or not.

My lesson learned is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.  Exhibit the behavior I want to see in my children and step-children.  Praise them for accomplishments and effort.  Praise them for helping without being asked.  Don’t focus on the negative behavior only.  Ignore some of the sighs and be aware of my own.

Blending a family comes with challenges, but also many opportunities to learn about yourself and your loved ones.  Try every day to see your blended family as an opportunity to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

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