Toddlers and preschoolers don't miss a thing. Gabe and I realized this quite awhile ago, and have been actively working to be sure that we are modeling the types of things we want Jonathan and Thomas to do. Sometimes this works really well; when we hear sirens Jonathan always asks to pray for the people who are hurt, and nearly every evening he wants to pray for the homeless people (we keep gift cards on hand to give out when we encounter them). Sometimes it backfires on us; last night Gabe was singing to himself from Dr. Horrible's Sing-along-blog until he realized that Jonathan was singing at the top of his lungs: "the birds are singing, cause you're gonna die!" Um, yeah, not quite what we were going for, there.
An example that made me happy today occured while baking an apple pie with Jonathan. He loves to help cook and bake in the kitchen, and he's starting to become slightly less hindrance and more help. :) Today I started teaching him the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons, and variations thereof. He thought that was lots of fun. Anyway, what made me happy was that right after we put the pie into the oven:
he asked for a sink full of soapy water "to wash the dishes". And then he proceded to do just that!
It's a little thing, but it is just one more example of how how carefully he copies what we do. And this particular "little thing" makes me glad that I generally wash the dishes right away!
Good modeling is hard work, and sometimes I despair of ever succeeding. (I suspect Gabe does, too, which may be why he tends to pray for grace to cover over our failures as parents!) Still, it is good hard work, and it is fun when it works, even in the little things.