Being from the Chicago area, it seems everyone is very excited about the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I asked a preschooler, “Did you see the Blackhawks play last night?” He replied, “No, I saw red birds flying in my backyard, but I did not see any black hawks.”
To be fair, I asked another preschooler the same question on the same day. “Did you see the Blackhawks play?” This child’s response was, “I think Crawford did an awesome job in the net, and I want to be as fast as Patrick Sharp one day.”
These 5 year olds were both asked the same question, yet their answers were so vastly different. You can see where exposure makes a big difference to a child. A child whose parent loves hockey may be able to embrace face offs, icing and off sides. A child whose parents love birds may be able to embrace red-tailed hawks, talons, falconry and the concept of carnivorousness. Children pick up on what adults gravitate towards.
This puts a tremendous amount of responsibility into parents’ and teacher’s behaviors. When children see parents mocking other nationalities, they see that as acceptable. When children see teachers talking to each other while ignoring behaviors in the classroom, they see poor behavior and gossiping as acceptable. When children see adults smoking cigarettes, they see that as acceptable. When children see grandparents eating junk food, they want to be included in that too.
It is always easier to embrace strong, healthy passions than to stop and change something that is not acceptable. Children are watching you. Even if you don’t have children in your home, they see you in the store. They see you at the park. They see you in cars. Children have eyes like hawks. They see more than they talk about. Everyone needs to be aware of what children may be seeing in our lifestyles, our words and our actions.
A red-tailed hawk can see a rabbit for two miles. Their eyes can zoom in on their prey. A preschooler’s eyes may not be able to see a rabbit for two miles, but they can see what is important to an adult by the way he or she spends his or her time. To a preschooler, you have the ability to be a part of the biggest power play he or she may ever experience.
- Based on what you do and watch, what would people think you are interested in?
- What is something someone would assume you dislike?
- How could you show people what you really value?
- Will you consider modeling some good behavior this week?
“If you’re a dad, what kind of mark are your leaving on your children, especially your sons? Do you realize that your little boys are watching you like hawks? They’re trying to figure out what maleness is all about, and you’re their model.” Bill Hybels
The power of a preschooler can change your mind……if you let it.