Friday, October 3, 2008

More Is Caught Than Taught

Tonight I was poking around in blogland and stumbled onto this post at Shell in Your Pocket. This one really struck an emotional note for me.

More is Caught Than Taught.

I don't know where I heard this. It's been so long ago that I can't credit the phrase to anyone. Wish I could because I'd like to meet him or her again so I could beg for more pearls of wisdom!

Our children are little sponges and they just seem to absorb us. Despite my best efforts and intentions in parenting, it really boils down to what I live out in front of my children. What I live out is really what they reflect.

Shell in Your Pocket has this lovely and sweet story of how Shell lays out her daughter's clothes at night in preparation for their morning routine and how her daughter lays out the clothes for her doll. She is "catching" her mommy's parenting and love. She is reflecting her mommy and absorbing all of it.

My youngest daughter turned 5 this week and reading this story brought to mind a memory of my sweet daughter and her doll. My daughter would send her doll on foster visits. Off with an imaginary stranger (visitation worker) to a supervised visit with the doll's other daddy. Then her dolly would return and she would care for it and love it. She did all the normal dolly play....just insert foster visitations. You see, our daughter came to us at 13 months old as a foster daughter. All attempts at reunification with either birth parent failed and we were pleased and blessed to adopt her 2 years later.

I remember watching this and it would break my heart. My mind would flood with so many thoughts of which I can summarize....children should not have to go through this. I must admit that I felt both sorrow for my daughter and anger toward the adults that failed her and forced her to enter foster care.

But, somehow after reading Shell's story of her daughter and her doll clothes, I am reflecting on my daughter's story in a different light. I have read many books on parenting and adoption and have attempted to apply various parenting techniques and tips gleaned from these books with varied results. In the end, my children just seem to "absorb" me....little sponges that they are. All of it...the good and the bad. (Yikes!) Previously I thought my daughter was absorbing all the ugliness of foster care and that despite my best efforts at being purposeful in my parenting, I was failing. Wow was I wrong! She was learning to be a mommy with a heart big enough for loving on hurt children and their families. In her little girl and dolly way she was playing out the best side of foster care....she was reflecting my love.

I love her and pray she never loses her optimism and resilience! I have a brave little girl!

PS....She never did play out the "ugly".... her dolly never suffered...she just loved her when she came home from visits.
Picture of our daughter on the morning we adopted her. She received an Bitty Baby as her adoption gift from us. She's such a little mommy. She immediately stuck a bottle in her new baby's mouth!


Mirth said...

Absolutely right on, and you guys are fantastic parents so it stands to reason your children would reflect that.

Tracy said...

What a sweet, sweet story and a great reminder.


PS- The podcasts I was having trouble with? Dave Ramsey : )

Octamom said...

So so sweet--just love the story of your youngest! Wow! And such a timely reminder--that phrase is so true...

Glad to 'meet' you over at my place today! So, do tell?...could you relate to my amazing hairdressing skills?!? ;o)


Octamom said...

Heee hhheee--loved your comments over at my place! Hope that you can avoid a TP Bowl player, seeing as how it might be a little...difficult...for your germ-o-phobe sensibilities!

Glad to know a fellow TP stockpiler!!


Christine said...

What a sweet post. Thanks for the link to Shells in my pocket.

Millennium Housewife said...

What a lovely post, and blog! I always believe that your children mirror the inside of you rather than the outside, you're right they're sponges and they pick up on the tiny involuntary things that give away our true thoughts of ourselves. This is why it's so important to practise good living and a loving heart whatever our beliefs. MH

*carrie* said...

I love that pic in your header! I'll have to remember that--more is caught than taught.

My family had a foster sister for a couple years when I was a kid. (She lived with us while her mom was in prison.)

Brenda said...

That reminds me of when my older daughter used to play with her babies. She would dress them, pack the diaper bag, put them in the stroller and bring them to me on the couch. "You're the Grandma." She would say. Then she would hand me the doll, give a few directions and go to work. It just broke my heart b/c I didn't want her to grow up and copy that pattern! I wanted to be an at-home mommy. Well, now I am and at least she was taking the baby doll to someone else who loved it, huh?

Lori Stucky said...

I miss your kids so much. What I wouldn't give to hear Griffy say "Oh-Tay". If I've said it once, I have said it a hundred times, you guys are incredible, creative, adventuresome, fantastic parents. When you are feeling low (who doesn't?), stop and read your own you guys loads!

m~ said...

Oh, what a wonderful and touching story. Thank you for sharing. It's good to know that they absorb the good stuff too.

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