What are you modeling?
June 9, 2013
Modeling is my word of the week. I like it. It really has nothing to do with fashion or the runway, but more with our behavior and what we are “modeling” to others—co-workers, employees, kids, spouses, etc.
First, work. Many companies and people say they want work-life balance, but how do executives and managers model this behavior? And, can I truly trust that you are a family-friendly company when the leaders of the company neglect their families or work long hours without making up that time somehow with their families? (I have worked in these types of environments and disliked them even when I was a single girl!) I recently reflected on my positive experiences at a “family-friendly” company for the past 6 years. While there are a few exceptions, you rarely hear about people working into the “wee” hours of the night (although I have been known to send an email at 5 a.m., it’s because I shut off early and can choose to work a few hours early to make up for it!). You often hear about and see vacation notices on doors and receive the out-of-office message via email; at my company, we celebrate moms and dads with baby showers (and wedding showers!), and it is really okay to talk about your kids and what they are doing; sometimes people will even ask you about your family (spouse, kids, sister, father, etc.) To me, this models more than any human resources video on work-life balance. I’m thankful. And to go a step further, I have a manager who models this for me, encouraging me to keep balance and allowing me to talk about my family concerns as she shares hers. This has been a huge blessing in my life. I like it. It helps soothe over other concerns (like my long commute!). I know what my company values and it shows.
As a mom, I want to model balance for my daughter. I value balance. Kayla needs to see me exercising, eating better, enjoying friends, laughing and talking with her dad. And, sometimes, she needs to see me choose to talk to her dad over playing with her. I know it’s not always the popular thing in today’s child-centered culture, but perhaps that is a reason our society is so self-focused these days. No one told us we were not the center of the universe! (Well I knew I wasn’t, but some of these kids today…) So how will Kayla know to enjoy her husband or her friends as an adult if she doesn’t see me doing it? So, while I can’t spend as much time as I did as a single gal with my girl pals, I can definitely carve out a bit of time each week to have a phone conversation with a cherished friend or play a game of Scrabble with a friend or go on a date with my husband (or simply enjoy Wheel of Fortune together without over-focusing on Kayla). I’m learning to model this for her and to remind myself of it (especially now that she is 3 and isn’t a tiny baby requiring a different type of attention and amount time).
I also want to model a praying woman—so I tell Kayla what I’m praying for and we try to remember to say prayers at night. I sometimes share what I read in my devotion as we walk to the car with her in the morning. I value my relationship with God so I want to model a woman who relies on God so Kayla can see what that looks like.
I also value education—so I read in front of Kayla and discuss those cute little papers she’s bringing home each day. I ask her what she is learning. I participate in her learning.
I want her to learn to save and plan and budget. So, when she has a dollar, I’ve tried to ask: how much should we save? How much should we spend, etc? This is definitely a work-in-progress in my life, but I want to model that financial planning is important for my daughter.
There are so many areas of our lives we need to model for others to see, whether those others are employees, adult family members, kids, friends.
What do you value the most? What do you want to model for others?