I didn’t have a role model growing up. And, so, I found myself in many dark corners trying to figure out where to shine my light. Or, trying to figure out where my light was hiding.
After going through my own personal version of a Katrina Super-Storm, I’m now in a place where I can finally be OK with who I am, and with the fact that life can be very challenging as a single mom with a tribe of five by my side. I’ve come to rely on my faith and on God. And, there, I know we are never alone.
As parents, our lives are very full. We are provided with many choices – often on a daily basis. We are required to make decisions both for ourselves, and for our younger children. With our older children, we must guide them toward making decisions that affirm, “doing the right thing.”
An example of daily choices I make is the simple, “Should I give my (younger) son another dessert?” For my older child, there’s the, “How do I tell my beautiful teenager that her friend is too clingy and needy, and that her good heart makes her a magnet for insecure people?”
With this in mind, I’d like to share a recent experience with you reaffirming my “making right choices.” Once again, I was forced to be an adult, and be the mother – both to myself and to my children. More importantly, I affirmed my intentions to be right model for my children.
Recently, we were at the supermarket during an errand-filled Saturday. At the checkout counter, I used my debit card to withdraw $40 in cash. When the cashier gave me $60, I questioned if I had pushed the wrong amount, but moved forward to pack the cart up and walk out the door. Mind you, I had three of the five kids in tow, and nearly everyone was frazzled. I was perplexed, replaying the entire scenario as best I could remember, but I simply could not be certain whether it was he, or me, who had made a mistake.
After the food was safely placed in our trunk, I painstakingly went through the bags to find the receipt. Yes, I was right. The cashier gave me $20 extra by mistake.
That’s where I had the “TruMoo” experience. (Have you seen that milk commercial? The one where the angel and devil land on the mom’s shoulders telling her what she should or should not do?!) In this scenario, that phantom red-clothed creature said: “Wow! You can absolutely use that extra $20 for something good!”
But the nearby angel replied ever-fiercely, “C’mon, Wendy. YOU want to be a good example to your children. Even if they don’t know, YOU will.” With my new professional work slogan of “Social Media with a Conscience,” it was a no-brainer. I had no choice but to do the right thing.
“OK, kids,” I said. “We need to go back to the supermarket to take care of some business.” They moaned and groaned. They thought our business was completed! On the way back into the store, my 6-year old son, Samaj, complained, no make that whined, “Mom, what do we need to do back in Von’s?!!”
With this perfect opportunity to share and set a positive example, I answered his question loud enough for all of the children to hear. We would return our extra money to the store.
When we approached our cashier, I handed him the $20 bill and explained that he had given it to me by mistake. To say he looked shock was an understatement! He quickly looked all around and just as quickly, put the money back in the register with a “thank you” under his breath.
As we walked back out to the car, again, Samaj looked up at me, beamed, and declared, “Mom, I’m proud of you!”
My heart filled with (his) love. I had indeed listened to the right voice!
I have one more example to share: The other day, my other son, 10-year old Zak, was relaying how he had eaten out with his friend, and his friend’s Dad. When paying at the register, the dad lied about the two children’s ages, in order to save money. Now, while some of you might argue with me regarding my unhappiness with his approach, stating that by doing such an small thing, he’d only be doing a “little white” lie, and not a “real lie,” I beg to differ. A lie is a lie is a lie. What does an “innocent” lie teach our children? And, all in the name of saving a few dollars?
Finally, last week, I was asked to be a guest speaker during my 6th grade daughter’s “Career Day” event. During my presentation on my social media work, I asked the class if they knew what having a conscience meant.
After about one-half dozen responses, it was clear: to them, conscience meant that though they might want to do something bad, in the end, the “good voices” in their head told them to do the right thing.
So, in conclusion, I ask you to remember that on a daily basis, our job is not only to love our children, but to teach them to be that Right Choice Voice. We need to “walk the talk” while raising them… UP! It’s really simple, and, really up to you and me.
Let’s join hands and do our parenting the right way, together!
Wendy Sue Noah is 46 years young, and a single mom of five children ranging in age from 6 – 14 years. She is blessed to have a home office with several clients, working in the Social Media world. Her personal slogan is “Social Media with a Conscience.” The flexibility of a home office allows her to be the supportive and loving mom she chooses to be, which includes retrieving her kids from the nurse’s office when sick, attending her children’s award ceremonies, or volunteering to speak at their school’s “Career Day.” As for cooking and cleaning, she gets by OK but prays for enough money for a nanny helper someday! Wendy can be found at: http://xeeme.com/wendysuenoah