I was explaining to my daughter just before bedtime last night why grandma, grandpa and granny are coming to stay this weekend. To put things simply I said, ‘Daddy is taking over the church on Sunday so there is going to be a big party.’ To which she immediately quipped back, ‘Well mummy God is actually in charge of the church – daddy will be the human who helps him.’ I asked her who had told her that and she replied, ‘You did mummy’ and then, amongst the bleary cloud of tiredness in my head, I did have a vague recollection of trying to explain to her a few weeks ago why daddy wouldn’t be the boss of the church, which is what she had been telling people! But I have to admit I was blown away that she had remembered it so clearly, and stated it back to me so matter-of-factly. It was something I had explained to her, therefore it was right. And that made me take a step back to think of the larger implications. Now I know we are told that children are sponges, but in the everyday busy-ness of life I can often forget that. Here was a real, bonafide example of that in practise.
I am often conscious of the way my children view my behaviour and sometimes copy it (yes it is the negative stuff I’m thinking of here!), and I know they come out with certain little phrases that they have picked up from either my husband or myself – that’s the way that family traditions/catchphrases are born. But I haven’t really dwelt that much recently on exactly how the words we say, and the way we explain things, get absorbed by our children. Tucking into bed time is usually a joint affair – I put our littlest into his bed after family prayers and my husband does the same with our daughter. One of the reasons it’s worked out that way is that she has an incredibly inquisitive mind, and usually picks that moment of the day to ask a deep, theological question. It is daddy who has a quick yet thorough answer easily on his lips! After last night’s exchange, though, I might take more opportunities to converse with my daughter just before sleep time!