My daughter learned how to tie a tie the other morning. “I want to learn how to tie a tie, Daddy,” she announced to my husband as he started putting on his tie. He chose another tie from his collection to put around her neck, then he guided her through the steps as he tied his own tie. Even though I wasn’t present during this activity, I saw the results around my daughter’s neck. I noticed that after my husband left for work, my daughter proceeded to tie and untie the tie many times as she watched “Word Girl” on television. At a certain point each time in the process, she jumped up on a chair and looked at the tie in a mirror. What was particularly interesting to me was the way she mirrored my husband’s process of tying, down to the expressive flips and fervent pull through of the tie during the last step. Evidence to me that children really do model our behavior, even when we don’t realize it!
After she completed each knot, she asked me to look at the tie, as she beamed with pride. She was incredibly proud of herself, and seemed to feel such a sense of accomplishment. I thought about how something seemingly so small could mean so much to her. I wondered how many times as a parent I may have missed opportunities to teach my children things that seemed minor to me, but may have meant so much to them. I do hope that number is small. I do realize, however, that this was a teachable moment for me as a parent. I will now be more aware and listen to things my children express an interest in wanting to learn. I may learn something in the process as well!