O be careful little eyes, what you see O be careful little eyes what you see For the Father up above is looking down in love So be careful little eyes what you see. (Song by Cedarmont Kids)
By Sally S. Creed, LPC-S, RPT-S
This little song is much more profound than we give it credit for. And it’s not just a song for kids. It holds true for all of us. Our eyes are the windows to our souls. What we see affects us tremendously.
Our eyes are the most important sensory organs we have. We perceive up to 80% of all impressions by seeing. Our eyes aren’t just performing a task, they are the portal our brain tells us about our world, helps us learn new things, and makes memories.
As parents, be aware of what your children see. Protect their eyes from dangerous and harmful images. Children watch you more closely than they watch anything else. You are the one setting examples for their behavior and conduct.
DO let your children see you:
• Praying – Pray out loud with your children and for your children. Model what praying is so they’ll understand and know how to talk to God themselves. Prayer is a conversation with God where you talk to Him, let Him know what your needs are and ask Him for help. When your children hear how well you can talk to Him and how much you depend on Him, they’ll learn that they can depend on Him, too.
• Showing affection – Children need to see you and your spouse holding hands, snuggling and kissing as a reminder to them how much you love and support each other. This gives them confidence and demonstrates to them how healthy relationships should be.
• Handling money – Model handling your money responsibly. You can save money into a coin bank, choose not to buy something at that moment, budget what you have so there’s money left over for important things, etc.
• Being kind and respectful – Stop to let someone merge in front of you on the road. Help older people in need. Be friendly toward your neighbors. Show respect to others and your children. Whenever you are out and about, find opportunities to show kindness.
• Being healthy – Be their example for a healthy lifestyle. Make healthy food choices. Go for a bike ride or a walk after dinner and talk along the way. Show them that exercise can be fun.
• Handling conflict – Do your best to model good conflict resolution skills when you can. For times that you have epic failures, be sure to talk it out with your children and apologize for not handling yourself the way you should have.
DON’T let your children see you:
• Cursing – Children will pick this up immediately and you’ll hear it come back at you.
• Gossiping – Definitely something you don’t want your children to start doing.
• Fighting – This is very scary for children to witness. Avoid this when children are present.
• Having road rage – Many children become fearful when having to travel with someone who has road rage. Be aware that there are others in your car and control yourself or drive alone.
• Getting drunk or high – Do your best not to lose your control around your children. They need to see you as someone they can trust, not someone they don’t respect.
• Lying – Children are always aware of when they’re being lied to. They are smarter than you think. This is a fast way to lose all their respect.
• Watching inappropriate videos – Children think what they see on TV is real. Many children become fearful and anxious because they’ve seen something on TV that was way beyond their scope of understanding. Horror movies may be fun for adults, but they traumatize children.
Parents cannot pretend to be saintly around their children, but they can do their best to model real life the way God intends it to be. Apologize when you need to, talk things out when you can, and teach your children that perfection is not the goal. Forgiveness and love is what their little eyes need to see.
“Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.” Psalm 119:18 (The Message)