I wish I could pick and choose which of my habits, traits and characteristics my daughter will inherit and pick up. Since Reese was born in April, I find myself increasingly thinking about trying to set a good example. I haven’t actually implemented any changes, however. It’s much easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk.
Sure, I have some run-of-the-mill bad habits — I occasionally use unladylike language; I have a serious sweet tooth; I procrastinate; and I’m a less-than-stellar housekeeper. However, I also possess some character flaws I need to work on, and I’m concerned those may be the things my little girl picks up.
I take things too personally. I have a temper that, although not easily evoked, has been known to reach scary levels, and I can hold a grudge like nobody’s business. I hold grudges against myself for not holding enough grudges. It’s a characteristic I’ve never liked but, try as I might, I’ve had a tough time eradicating it. It’s something I hope my daughter never picks up or, better yet, notices in me. If that’s my goal, though, I’m going to have to carve out a path to reach it.
Simply telling myself to stop getting angry and holding grudges doesn’t work — I know that from experience. So I’m employing what I call “the sensible person’s approach.” When I feel tempted to get upset and place prolonged blame on a friend, relative or associate for something seemingly inconsequential, I ask myself, “Would a sensible person be angry about this?” If the answer is no — and it usually is — I tell myself to move on.
My reasoning here is that I do want my daughter to be a sensible person. What better example to set for her than that of a level-headed, rational individual.
It’s funny how children act as mirrors in a way — forcing us to see the quirks and flaws in ourselves that were much easier to overlook before the little ones came along. The knowledge that there’s a small person in existence who potentially could turn out just like me — for better or for worse — has made me realize I should have been living my life more admirably all along.
Yes, I want my daughter to see the best in me and, hopefully, pick up on my positive traits. But I also want those around me — not just my child — to view me in the most positive light. So, whether or not Reese is around, from here on out, I’ll try to behave like she always knows what I’m up to.
Hollie Moore Barnidge is the managing editor for the Coastal Courier in Hinesville.